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

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Published on July 11, 2017

In this Ask the Expert segment featuring Dr. Srdan Verstovsek from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, a Patient Power community member wants to know if the rate of progression is increased when essential thrombocythemia (ET) is left untreated. Dr. Verstovsek responds by explaining the risks associated with untreated ET.

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

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

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Here’s a question we got from Lacy. Lacy writes, “I have ET and am allergic to anagrelide (Agrylin) and hydroxyurea (Hydrea). I’m untreated and constantly have a high platelet count. Does this increase the rate at which I will progress to another MPN?”

Dr. Verstovsek:

No. The main problem in essential thrombocythemia is controlling the thrombotic risk of having a blood clot. And by looking at the symptom features of, the age, history of blood clots and perhaps genetic components, whether the patient with ET is genetic-mutation positive or not, we can, among the ET patients, say some have a high risk of thrombosis. The others have lower risk of thrombosis. And we treat the patients at high risk with hydroxyurea or anagrelide or peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys). This is long-acting interferon to control the risk by lowering the blood cell count. But the uncontrolled blood cell count as it’s implied in this particular case does not really lead me to say oh because you have an uncontrolled blood cell count your risk of progression to myelofibrosis or acute leukemia is high. That connection I have not seen so far.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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