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ONCAlert | ESMO 2018 Congress

Moving Beyond Hydroxyurea in Polycythemia Vera

Abdulraheem Yacoub, MD
Published Online: 5:29 PM, Thu September 13, 2018


Abdulraheem Yacoub, MD, associate professor of Hematology at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, discusses treatment beyond hydroxyurea in patients with polycythemia vera (PV).

Although hydroxyurea has been the mainstay in the treatment landscape of PV, 30% patients will develop resistance or intolerance to the treatment. Investigators are currently trying to develop options for these patients. One of the options already in the landscape, Yacoub says, is treatment with the JAK 1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib (Jakafi).

In 2014, ruxolitinib was approved by the FDA for patients with PV who are resistant or intolerant to hydroxyurea, based on findings from the phase III RESPONSE trial. Ruxolitinib has demonstrated efficacy in these patients, as PV is associated with an acquired JAK2 mutation. Data from the RESPONSE trial showed that 21% of patients who received ruxolitinib achieved the primary endpoint of ≥35% reduction in spleen volume at week 32, versus 1% in the standard-therapy group (P <.001).

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