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Understanding the Role of Ruxolitinib in Patients With Polycythemia Vera

Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD
Published Online:7:13 PM, Wed March 20, 2019


Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, director of the Hanns A. Pielenz Clinical Research Center for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the role of ruxolitinib (Jakafi) in patients with polycythemia vera (PV), a myeloproliferative neoplasm of the bone marrow.

The standard of care for patients with PV who are at high risk of thrombosis is hydroxyurea (Hydrea), a mild chemotherapy. However, Verstovsek says this does not work with all patients; about 20% of patients will develop an intolerance or resistance to the treatment.

Ruxolitinib, a JAK1/2 inhibitor, was recently approved for these patients in the second-line setting, according to Verstovsek. This agent has demonstrated activity in the second-line setting, showing control of the red blood cells and white cell platelets. In clinical studies, ruxolitinib has also shown an improvement in the overall quality of life for these patients.
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