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Blood. 2003 Nov 15;102(10):3569-74. Epub 2003 Jul 31.

Quantification of PRV-1 mRNA distinguishes polycythemia vera from secondary erythrocytosis.

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Department of Experimental Anaesthesiology, University Hospital Freiburg, Center for Clinical Research, Breisacher Str 66, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.


To date, the diagnosis of polycythemia vera (PV) relies on clinical criteria. We have recently described the overexpression of a hematopoietic receptor, polycythemia rubra vera-1 (PRV-1), in patients with PV. Here, we report a quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay for the measurement of PRV-1 mRNA levels. We have determined PRV-1 expression in 71 patients with PV, 11 patients with secondary erythrocytosis (SE), as well as in 80 healthy controls. PV patients express significantly higher amounts of PRV-1 than healthy controls or patients with SE (P <.0001). Because there is no overlap between the PRV-1 expression in PV patients versus healthy controls or SE patients, the assay has a very high sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of PV in our population. In patients with erythrocytosis, the quantitative RT-PCR assay described here therefore provides a rapid, highly specific and sensitive tool for the diagnosis of PV.

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