January 28, 2015
Patients with polycythemia vera who were resistant to or intolerant of hydroxyurea therapy demonstrated better controlled hematocrit levels, reduced spleen volume and improved symptoms when they received ruxolitinib compared with standard therapy, according to study results.
“Polycythemia vera is a disease of the blood and bone marrow that results in too many blood cells, particularly red blood cells, that lead to an increased risk of thrombosis,” Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, professor in the department of leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a HemOnc Today Editorial Board member, told HemOnc Today. “In addition to phlebotomy and aspirin, a majority of patients require cytoreductive therapy to control blood cell count and signs and symptoms of the disease, and hydroxyurea is the standard first medication to use. Up to 20% to 25% of patients do not do well on hydroxyurea, are resistant to or intolerant of it or lose response over time, and alternative therapeutic options are limited.”