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Alleviating anemia and thrombocytopenia in myelofibrosis patients.

Anemia and thrombocytopenia are frequent clinical manifestations of myelofibrosis as well as important prognostic factors of the disease. Concerning the treatment of anemia, the first step should be the correction of reversible contributing factors, such as possible iron, folate and vitamin B12 deficiency. Then, treatment options include erythropoiesis stimulating agents, androgens, immunomodulating drugs, corticosteroids, and splenectomy. Anemia responses may also be observed in some patients treated with JAK inhibitors. However, most patients eventually fail to such therapies and become transfusion dependent. Some of the aforementioned therapies can also improve thrombocytopenia, but the responses are usually observed in patients with moderate platelet count decrease. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the only curative treatment of myelofibrosis, can be an alternative for selected patients with cytopenias who are refractory to conventional therapies. However, for the majority of patients, the management of anemia and severe thrombocytopenia remains an unmet need.

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