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What Treatments Benefit PV Patients Without a Spleen?

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Published on November 16, 2016

Do the new PV (polycythemia vera) medications such as JAK2 inhibitors benefit patients that do not have a spleen? Dr. Prithviraj Bose of MD Anderson Cancer Center discusses both splenomegaly and splenectomy in PV patients. Listen for his explanation on JAK2 based on the RESPONSE II clinical trial data.

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Transcript | What Treatments Benefit PV Patients Without a Spleen?

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. 

Andrew Schorr:

Dr. Bose, here's a question we got from Theresa.  She writes in, “Can you explain having PV and living without a spleen?  Do the newest PV meds such as JAK2 inhibitors benefit patients that do not have a spleen?” 

Dr. Bose:

Yes, they do.  So to address the first part, splenomegaly is a little less common in PV than in myelofibrosis, but we do see it in about 40 percent of patients.  I assume the question is asking what it will be like if one had the spleen taken out.  That is not generally required.  It would be fairly uncommon. But if it is needed it's not, you know, really a big deal, I would think because, you know, with the appropriate vaccination and prophylactic antibiotics I think people can live a normal life without a spleen, really. 

Andrew Schorr:

Okay.  And if you were on a JAK2 inhibitor…

Dr. Bose:

Right. 

Andrew Schorr:

…it would still work. 

Dr. Bose:

Absolutely.  Absolutely.  And then to answer the second part of the question, they did a trial called RESPONSE 2 of ruxolitinib (Jakafi).  After the RESPONSE trial got it approved in PV, they did a trial in Europe called RESPONSE 2, and they specifically did RESPONSE 2 in PV patients who did not have splenomegaly, and they found the same benefits essentially in hematocrit control, symptom control, etc. 

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.