Controlling Symptoms in Patients With MF Treated With Hypomethylating Agents

October 31, 2018
Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD

Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, discusses how to control symptoms while using hypomethylating agents in patients with myelofibrosis.

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 how to control symptoms while using hypomethylating agents in patients with myelofibrosis (MF).

The hypomethylating agents are used solely to lower blast and control disease. In some cases, complete responses and partial responses with these agents have been reported, Verstovsek says, but the goal of these agents is to put the disease into a chronic phase with less than 10% blast so that the patient can receive transplant.

According to Verstovsek, the quality of life (QoL) on these agents is not great, while MF in general has many systemic symptoms that cannot be controlled by hypomethylating agents. However, to control the symptoms, the JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib (Jakafi) can be given in combination to help with QoL and the progressive nature of the disease.