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ONCAlert | ESMO 2018 Congress

The Importance of Intervention in Chronic Phase Myelofibrosis

Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD
Published Online: 6:12 PM, Sat September 15, 2018


Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Leukemia and director of the Hanns A. Pielenz Clinical Research Center for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the importance of intervention in chronic phase myelofibrosis.

Although myelofibrosis is considered a chronic disease, it does not stay chronic forever, says Verstovsek. The average survival for patients with myelofibrosis is 5 to 7 years, but giving ruxolitinib (Jakafi) in the chronic phase for some patients can prolong life. Patients with myelofibrosis are at risk of their disease transforming to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which has a worse prognosis and limited therapeutic options. Verstovsek says that patients must be monitored for disease transformation carefully, as AML does not develop overnight.

The progressive nature of the disease remains though, Verstovsek explains, and there are not currently any therapies on or off label to control it. Increased blasts and molecular changes are the parameters that need to be watched when monitoring a patient with myelofibrosis, says Verstovsek.

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