Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are a group of disorders that affect blood cell production in the bone marrow and include polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET) and primary myelofibrosis (PMF). In this "Ask the Expert" series from our partner, the Patient Empowerment Network, Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, a world-renowned expert from MD Anderson Cancer Center, and other MPN experts explain the basics of MPNs.

Ask the Expert: Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPN)

What Does “Thick Blood” Mean? Mitigating Risk for Stroke and Clots in PV Patients

What does it mean that my blood is too thick? MPN expert Dr. Joseph Scandura describes how patients’ blood vessels are impacted, short- and long-term risks, and available treatments.

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What Is the Significance of an Allele Burden? An Expert Explains Abnormal Genes

Why is understanding an MPN patient’s allele burden important? How is it assessed? Tune in to hear MPN expert Dr. Joseph Scandura explain.

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What Do Mutations Indicate About Disease Behavior in MPNs?

Can genetic mutations can predict how aggressive MPNs will be or indicate a poor treatment response? Tune in to hear MPN expert Dr. Joseph Scandura explain mutational status.

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Managing MPN Symptoms: What Can Be Done to Help With Bone Pain?

MPN expert Dr. Joseph Scandura explains causes of bone pain in MPN patients and shares strategies to help alleviate the symptom. Watch now to find out more.

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How Do Stem Cell Transplants Work to Treat Myelofibrosis?

How does a stem cell transplant cure myelofibrosis? Watch as MPN expert Dr. Joseph Scandura explains transplant effects level and potential treatment side effects.

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Understanding MPN Treatment Goals: What Is the Purpose of Phlebotomy?

Watch as Dr. Joseph Scandura responds to the questions, “What are the goals of phlebotomy, and when do you know it’s time to switch from phlebotomy to medication?”

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What Is the Impact of Iron Deficiency on MPN Patients?

As part of our Ask the Expert series, MPN expert Dr. Joseph Scandura from Weill Cornell Medicine responds to questions about anemia as it relates to polycythemia vera.

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Diagnosis and Prognosis: What Mutations Reveal About MPNs

What do driver mutations reveal about your condition’s behavior? Dr. Rami Komrokji and Dr. Mark Heaney joined us at ASH 2017 to discuss the prognostic value and associated therapies for genetic abnormalities in MPNs.

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Can Essential Thrombocythemia Cause Inflammation?

A Patient Power community member wants to know; “is inflammation related to my MPN?” Tune in to hear MPN expert Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju explain the connection between ET and inflammation and ongoing clinical research to help reduce it.

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My Young Adult Daughter Is Not Treating Her ET: What Should She Be Cautious About?

Patient Power community member Kimberly writes in, “My 22-year-old daughter has ET and no longer wants to take the medicine, what should she be aware of?” Tune in to find out the answer from MPN expert Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju.

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Is Numbness in My Scalp Related to My MPN?

Is it common for MPN patients to experience numbness in the scalp, ears and face? Tune in to find out from esteemed MPN expert Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju.

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What Is the Risk of Progression From Myelofibrosis to AML?

Watch now to hear MPN expert Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju explain prognostic factors, risk stratification and recent developments in treatment research for myelofibrosis patients who progress to AML.

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What Indicates a Need for Another Bone Marrow Biopsy?

MPN expert Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju explains why your doctor may order a repeat bone marrow biopsy and what may be revealed. Watch now to find out more.

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Are There Any New Treatment Options for MPN Patients With Anemia?

Tune in to hear renowned expert Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju give an update on anemia-targeted drugs in development and share how MPN patients can get involved in this important clinical research.

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Should Polycythemia Vera Patients Avoid Vitamin K?

Watch now to hear MPN expert Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju explain the effect vitamin K has on iron levels, how it may interact with treatment and what patients should consider when it comes to diet.

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Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent or Slow Progression of My MPN?

Is there anything that patients can do to prevent or slow MPN progression? Dr. Abdulraheem Yacoub responds with the latest research on prevention and progression in MPNs.

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Are There Vaccine Recommendations for Patients With MPNs?

In this Ask the Expert segment, a Patient Power community member wants to know “Are there recommendations for vaccines for patients with MPNs?” Dr. Abulraheem Yacoub explains.

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How Do I Manage My Risk for Clotting As I Age With Essential Thrombocythemia (ET)?

During this Ask the Expert segment, a community member with essential thrombocythemia (ET) wants to know about increased risk for clotting as they age and how to prevent blood clots with their condition. Dr. Abdulraheem Yacoub responds.

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How Can I Educate My Primary Care Provider About Myeloproliferative Neoplasms?

In this Ask the Expert segment, Dr. Abdulraheem Yacoub responds to a question from a community member asking for advice on educating their primary care physician about their MPN.

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Is There a Role for CAR-T Cell Therapy in MPNs?

Dr. Abdulraheem Yacoub explains how CAR-T cell therapy targets cancer cells in the body and what the future holds for this treatment method.

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Does Risk of Progression Increase If Essential Thrombocythemia (ET) Is Untreated?

In this Ask the Expert segment featuring Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, he responds to a community member who wants to know if the rate of progression is increased when essential thrombocythemia (ET) is left untreated.

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Are There MPN Treatments That Reduce Fibrosis and Slow Disease Progression?

In this Ask the Expert segment, community member Susan asks if there are MPN treatments that reduce fibrosis or slow progression of the disease. Dr. Srdan Verstovsek responds.

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If My MPN Is Confirmed in Blood Work, Why Have a Bone Marrow Biopsy?

In this Ask the Expert segment, a Patient Power community member wants to know if and why a bone marrow biopsy is necessary if her ET diagnosis has been confirmed by blood work. Dr. Srdan Verstovsek responds.

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What Does Molecular Remission Mean for MPN Patients?

What is molecular remission in MPNs, and how is it achieved? Dr. Prithviraj Bose from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center responds.

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What Is the MPL Mutation and How Does It Affect Treatment Choices?

Dr. Prithviraj Bose from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center responds to a community member question about genetic mutations in MPNs, specifically the MPL mutation.

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How Does Iron in My Diet Affect My Polycythemia Vera?

Dr. Prithviraj Bose from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center responds to a community member question about changes to your diet after a PV diagnosis, specifically related to iron intake.

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How Do I Avoid Neuropathy As a Treatment Side Effect?

Dr. Prithviraj Bose from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center responds to a member question about peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of treatment for essential thrombocythemia (ET).

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How Closely Should Cholesterol Be Monitored in Someone With an MPN?

Dr. Olatoyosi Odenike shares recommendations for myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients related to the management of cholesterol.

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What Is the Life Span and Quality of Life for a Patient With Essential Thrombocythemia?

Dr. Prithviraj Bose of MD Anderson Cancer Center discuss life span and quality of life information for patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET).

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Is Occasional Spleen Pain Normal for an MPN Patient Without Splenomegaly?

In this Ask the Expert segment, Dr. Mark Heaney responds to questions about spleen pain and splenomegaly in MPN patients.

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Does Myelofibrosis Exacerbate Arthritis?

In this Ask the Expert segment, Dr. Mark Heaney of Columbia University Medical Center answers Patient Power viewer Candi’s question, “Does myelofibrosis (MF) exacerbate arthritis?”

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Is Iron Supplementation Appropriate for Someone With an MPN Who Has Iron-Deficient Anemia?

Dr. John Mascarenhas answers this Ask the Expert question from Jane regarding the use of iron supplements for iron-deficient anemic MPN patients.

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How Can I Combat Depression Associated With Interferon Therapy?

Patient Power community member, Kathy, asks Dr. John Mascarenhas about the connection between depression and interferon therapy and how the condition can be managed.

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Do Blood Test Results Differ When Processed at Different Labs?

Does having your blood drawn at different labs impact the results? Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju answers this Ask the Expert question from Cindy.

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Is There a Connection Between MPN Treatment and Skin Cancer?

Patient Power community member, Peggy, wrote, “How strong of a connection is there between long-term use of Jakafi and non-melanoma skin cancer? Should a patient quit taking medication?”

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If My MPN Is Stable, Should I See a Specialist?

Does a stable MPN patient need to consult with an MPN specialist? Dr. Naval Daver answers this Ask the Expert question from Patient Power community member, Julie.

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What Are Common Complications of Polycythemia Vera (PV)?

In this Ask the Expert interview, Andrew Schorr asks Dr. Naval Daver, “What are the most common complications of polycythemia vera (PV)?”

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Why Does a Reduced Dose of a JAK Inhibitor Improve Anemia?

In this Ask the Expert segment, Jean asks Dr. Naval Daver, “Why does a reduced dosage of ruxolitinib (Jakafi) allow red blood cells to improve the level of anemia?”

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Is There a Test to Predict Risk of Blood Clots?

In this Ask the Expert segment, Dr. Naval Daver of MD Anderson Cancer Center answers questions about reliable tests to determine a patient’s tendency to develop blood clots.

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Is It Possible to Slow MPN Progression?

Dr. Jamile Shammo of Rush University Medical Center responds to a Patient Power community member’s question, “What do we know about ET and PV progression to myelofibrosis? Are there any ways progression can be slowed down? What research is being done in this area?”

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What Does It Mean to Be JAK or CALR Positive?

From our Ask the Expert series, Dr. Jamile Shammo, with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, answers a question from Jane, “What does it mean if you are JAK+ or CALR+, and how does it affect my treatment or prognosis?”

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Can I Take an MPN Treatment Holiday?

In this “Ask the Expert” segment featuring Dr. Kim-Hien T. Dao from OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, she responds to Kent’s question, “Is it possible to take a drug holiday, and if so for how long?”

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How Should Bad Headaches Be Treated If I Have PV and Take Aspirin?

In this “Ask the Expert” segment, Dr. Kim-Hien T. Dao from OHSU Knight Cancer Institute responds to a question related to polycythemia vera (PV) and the treatment of headaches.

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Is It Possible to Achieve Remission With MPNs?

As part of our Ask the Expert series, Dr. Jason Gotlib from Stanford Cancer Institute answers a community member’s question pertaining to alternative JAK inhibitors and the possibility of achieving remission.

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Is There a Connection Between PV and Pulmonary Hypertension?

In this Ask the Expert segment, Harriett writes that she was recently diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and wants to know if the condition is related to her polycythemia vera.

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What Causes Fatigue in MPN Patients?

In this “Ask the Expert” segment featuring Dr. Brady Stein from Northwestern Medicine, MPN community member Marie wants to know, “What causes fatigue in patients with MPNs? What can be done about it?”

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Is a Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) Cancer?

In this “Ask the Expert” segment featuring Dr. Stephen Oh from Washington University School of Medicine, a Patient Power community member wants to know “Is myelofibrosis cancer?”

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What Is Essential Thrombocythemia (ET)?

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, Dr. Alison Moliterno from Johns Hopkins Medicine responds to the question “What is essential thrombocythemia?” She explains the condition and how it affects the body.

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What Is Polycythemia Vera (PV)?

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, Dr. Ruben Mesa from Mayo Clinic Arizona answers the question “What is polycythemia vera?” He responds with a detailed explanation of the condition and how it is monitored.

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What Type of Pain Is Associated with PV?

In this “Ask the Expert” segment featuring Dr. Naval Daver from MD Anderson Cancer, he explains the types of pain that are associated with polycythemia vera (PV) and the issues that pain may indicate.

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How Do I Know If My MPN Is Progressing?

In this “Ask the Expert” segment featuring Dr. Naval Daver from MD Anderson Cancer Center, he provides a detailed explanation of the three factors that are the indicators for deciding when to start treatment.

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What Causes Night Sweats and Itching in MPNs?

In this “Ask the Expert” segment featuring Dr. Naval Daver from MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Daver explains how certain MPN symptoms are part of the MPN process and advises patients to bring these symptoms to the attention of their physician.

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Can Exposure to Chemicals Cause MPNs?

Dr. Ross Levine discusses chemical exposure as a potential cause of MPNs and shares what researchers have learned about Agent Orange and the Superfund site in Pennsylvania.

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What Causes an Enlarged Spleen in Patients with MPNs?

Dr. Ross Levine from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explains what is happening inside the bone marrow in people with MPNs and why this causes the spleen to become enlarged.

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How Likely Is It That Polycythemia Vera (PV) Will Become Myelofibrosis?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston responds to a question from the MPN community about the likelihood of polycythemia vera (PV) becoming myelofibrosis (MF).

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How Are Genetics Transforming MPN Treatment?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek an MPN expert from MD Anderson Cancer Center explains how genetics is changing the landscape of MPN treatment.

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How Can Biopsy Be Tolerated More Easily?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek and Dr. Carlos Bueso-Ramos describe how an experienced technician can make biopsy for MPN treatment more comfortable.

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How Important Is It to Measure Changes in Scarring in the Bone Marrow?

MPN experts from MD Anderson Cancer Center discuss scarring in the bone marrow while monitoring MPNs.

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How Do You Assess an MPN Transforming from One to Another?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek and Dr. Carlos Bueso-Ramos, from MD Anderson Cancer Center, discuss the transformation of MPNs (myeloproliferative neoplasms) and the factors that are included in the assessment of the transformation

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Will All Patients Have Some Fibrosis?

Dr. Carlos Bueso-Ramos, an MPN expert from MD Anderson Cancer Center, explains fibrosis and how it factors in during diagnosis and monitoring through a bone marrow biopsy.

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Can Genetic Analysis Come from Bone Marrow Biopsy?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek and Dr. Carlos Bueso-Ramos, from MD Anderson Cancer Center, discuss analysis of the bone marrow biopsy.

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What’s the “Right” Sample and How Often Do I Need a Biopsy?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek and Dr. Carlos Bueso-Ramos from MD Anderson Cancer Center explain why painful bone marrow biopsy is necessary for MPN treatment.

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How Do You Identify the Grade of an MPN?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek discusses how sample analysis and prognostic factors are used to diagnose and treat MPNs.

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How Long Does a Biopsy Provide Useful Information?

With ever-changing medicine, will your biopsy still provide useful information in the future? Dr. Carlos Bueso-Ramos details the longevity of an MPN biopsy.

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How Can You Make an Accurate Diagnosis?

Dr. Buesos-Ramos and Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, MPN experts from MD Anderson Cancer Center, describe the process of diagnosing MPNs and the various factors that play a role in a correct diagnosis.

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Why Do You Need a Biopsy?

Most every MPN (myeloproliferative neoplasm) patient has had a bone marrow biopsy. MPN experts from MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Srdan Verstovsek and Dr. Carlos Bueso-Ramos, explain why bone marrow biopsy is necessary.

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How Are MPN Patients Monitored?

What tests are important for an MPN patient as they go on their journey? Dr. Srdan Verstovsek explains.

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What is an MPN?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, a world-renowned expert at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, defines the three types of MPNs (myeloproliferative neoplasms): essential thrombocythemia (ET), polycythemia vera (PV) and myelofibrosis (MF).

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How Are MPNs Diagnosed?

What tests and examinations are needed to determine if a patients has an MPN and, if so, which one? Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, a world-renowned expert at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston explains how MPN is diagnosed.

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Why Did I Get an MPN?

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek explains what is known about how an MPN patient may have gotten a “moon” and whether it runs in families.

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The Ask the Expert series is sponsored through an educational grant to the Patient Empowerment Network from Incyte Corporation.

Have a question for the MPN experts?

Have a question for the MPN experts on the latest research, treatment approaches or side effects? Or do you want to learn more about the basics of the disease? Patient Power is talking to the experts all year-round, and we want to ask the questions most important to you. Submit your brief question for the experts here. Please note that we will do our best to ask all appropriate questions, however, we cannot guarantee an answer. Be sure to sign up to receive email alerts so that we can inform you whenever new content is posted.

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Page last updated on May 22, 2019