Classical Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms: focus on mutations and JAK2 inhibitors

Grzegorz Helbig
Medical Oncology 2018 August 3, 35 (9): 119
Classical Philadelphia- negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) encompass three main myeloid malignancies: polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET), and myelofibrosis (MF). Phenotype-driver mutations in Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), calreticulin (CALR), and myeloproliferative leukemia virus oncogene (MPL) genes are mutually exclusive and occur with a variable frequency. Driver mutations influence disease phenotype and prognosis. PV patients with JAK2 exon 14 mutation do not differ in number of thrombotic events, risk of leukemic and fibrotic transformation, and overall survival to those with JAK2 exon 12 mutation. Type 2-like CALR-mutated ET patients have lower risk of thrombosis if compared with those carrying JAK2 or type 1-like CALR mutation. For ET, overall survival is comparable between patients with JAK2 and either type 1-like and type 2-like CALR mutations. For MF, better OS is demonstrated for patients harboring a type 1-like CALR mutation than those with type 2-like CALR or JAK2. The discovery of driver mutations in MPNs has prompted the development of molecularly targeted therapy. Among JAK2 inhibitors, ruxolitinib (RUX) has been approved for (1) treatment of intermediate-2 and high-risk MF and (2) PV patients who are resistant to or intolerant to hydroxyurea. RUX reduces spleen size and alleviates disease symptoms in a proportion of MF patients. RUX in MF leads to prolonged survival and reduces risk of death. RUX controls hematocrit, reduces spleen size and alleviates symptoms in PV. Adverse events of RUX are moderate, however, its long-term use may be associated with opportunistic infections. Trials with other JAK2 inhibitors are ongoing.

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