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What Does Molecular Remission Mean for MPN Patients?

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Published on April 11, 2017

What is molecular remission in MPNs, and how is it achieved? As part of our MPN Ask the Expert series, Dr. Prithviraj Bose from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center responds by explaining molecular remission and what it means for patients. 

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

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Transcript | What Does Molecular Remission Mean for MPN Patients?

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.

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. 

Tamara Lobban-Jones:

We received a question from Jean. And Jean writes, “Is molecular remission possible for MPN patients? And if so, how do you achieve it?”

Dr. Bose:               

Molecular remissions are absolutely possible for MPN patients. And perhaps the best data so far is with the interferon preparations. We don’t see very high rates of molecular remissions with ruxolitinib (Jakafi), for example. We see some, but not very high. However, the big caveat I think is that we don’t understand at the present time the clinical significance of molecular remission.

So, yes, there are patients, particular in interferon trials who attain molecular remissions, even complete molecular remissions. But the point here is unlike chronic myeloid leukemia where the meaning of a molecular remission is well understood and strongly correlated with survival and long-term outcomes, we do not have that kind of data in the MPN setting. 

And there is a question mark over the importance or significance of a molecular remission, because we believe that the driver mutations you hear of all the time, JAK-2, MPL and calreticulin, they may not be the disease-initiating mutations in MPNs. Rather, they may confer the phenotype or the clinical characteristics that we see in these patients more than causing the disease. So that goes back to the point that if we attain a molecular remission, what are we really achieving?

So I think a lot of work still needs to be done in this area. So, yes, it is achievable, but do we understand it fully? No.

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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