Treating Asymptomatic Patients With Polycythemia Vera

August 31, 2020
Jerry L. Spivak, MD

Jerry L. Spivak, MD, discusses treating patients with polycythemia vera, which is a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm that can often derive from essential thrombocythemia, particularly among women.

Jerry L. Spivak, MD, director of the Center for the Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders and professor of Medicine and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, discusses his key takeaway from his presentation from the Texas Virtual Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Workshop regarding treating patients with polycythemia vera (PV), which is a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm that can often derive from essential thrombocythemia (ET), particularly among women.

To do the most good for these patients, it is best to stick with the simplest treatment, says Spivak. In patients with no symptoms, it is not as important to reduce the white blood cell or platelet counts.

Women are more at risk for PV compared with men, and they are more likely to have progressed to PV from ET than they are to progress to myelofibrosis from ET. In this case, they are expected to have a good lifespan, Spivak says. However, it is important that patients who are asymptomatic be left alone.

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