Novel therapeutic approaches in polycythemia vera

Charles Elliott Foucar, Brady Lee Stein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Polycythemia vera (PV) is the most common Philadelphia chromosome–negative myeloproliferative neoplasm. Whereas low-risk patients are treated with aspirin and phlebotomy, high-risk patients receive cytoreductive therapy, which most commonly consists of hydroxyurea in the United States. Concerns about the long-term safety of hydroxyurea, as well as a desire for more efficacious and targeted therapy, have led to the development of novel therapies for high-risk patients with PV. Pegylated interferon (IFN) has shown promise in phase 2 studies of PV, and preliminary data from ongoing phase 3 studies suggest noninferiority as a frontline therapy. Efficient count control, tolerability, and even molecular responses as a salvage therapy have been demonstrated. Ropeginterferon-α-2b, a monopegylated IFN with a longer half-life and less frequent dose interval compared with recombinant or pegylated IFN, is an impressive agent in development. Ruxolitinib has a proven role as second-line therapy for PV, but an ongoing trial combining ruxolitinib and IFN as salvage therapy is under way. Early-phase clinical trials have also suggested that MDM2 inhibitors such as idasanutlin and histone deacetylase inhibitors should continue in their development. If these novel agents are able to modify the natural history of PV, the treatment paradigm in newly diagnosed patients will evolve from risk-adapted or reactive treatment toward early interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-757
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Advances in Hematology and Oncology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Interferon
  • Novel therapeutics
  • Polycythemia vera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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