JAK2(V617F) allele burden discriminates essential thrombocythemia from a subset of prefibrotic-stage primary myelofibrosis

Kais Hussein, Oliver Bock, Katharina Theophile, Nils von Neuhoff, Thomas Buhr, Jerome Schlué, Guntram Büsche, Hans Kreipe
Experimental Hematology 2009, 37 (10): 1186-1193.e7

OBJECTIVE: Among Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (Ph(-) MPN), essential thrombocythemia (ET) and the prefibrotic phase of primary myelofibrosis (PMF) represent two subtypes with considerable overlap.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, histopathological classification of 490 MPN cases was correlated with the allelic burden of JAK2(V617F) and MPL(W515L).

RESULTS: Ph(-) MPN entities largely overlap with regard to JAK2(V617F) and MPL(W515L) allele burden, but ET displayed mutant allele burden <50%. PMF with different stages of myelofibrosis all yielded similar JAK2(V617F) allele burden. At initial presentation one-quarter of prefibrotic PMF cases exhibited an allele burden exceeding 50% (38% median JAK2(V617F) alleles, n=102). In ET, its main differential diagnosis, not a single case was found with >40% JAK2(V617F) alleles (median, 24% JAK2(V617F) alleles; n=90; p<0.001). Increase in JAK2(V617F) alleles during follow-up could not be linked to fibrosis or blastic progression but was related to polycythemic transformation in ET. MPL(W515L) was found in 3% of ET and 8% of PMF, with a significantly higher percentage of mutated alleles in fibrotic than prefibrotic PMF (median, 78% MPL(W515L) alleles; p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: Histopathological categories ET and prefibrotic PMF correlate with significant differences in mutant allelic burden of JAK2(V617F), but not of MPL(W515L) which, by contrast to JAK2(V617F), shows a higher percentage of mutated alleles in fibrotic than in prefibrotic cases. Thus, for Ph(-) MPN in which ET and prefibrotic PMF represent the most probable diagnoses, a JAK2(V617F) allele burden >50% favors a diagnosis of prefibrotic PMF.

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