Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mayo Clin Proc. 1991 Feb;66(2):149-54.

Essential thrombocythemia in young adults.

Author information

Division of Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905.


Essential thrombocythemia is typically a disorder of adults in the sixth or seventh decade of life and is characterized by frequent thrombohemorrhagic complications. In young patients, the optimal management of complications is controversial. We studied 56 young adults (33 female and 23 male patients) with a diagnosis of essential thrombocythemia. The mean duration of follow-up was 4.68 years. The mean platelet count at diagnosis was 1,328,000/mm3. Platelet aggregation studies in 21 patients demonstrated hypoaggregation to epinephrine; spontaneous platelet aggregation was present in 4. At diagnosis, 39 patients were asymptomatic, and thrombocytosis was discovered incidentally. Throughout follow-up (up to 20 years), 24 patients remained asymptomatic. Thrombotic complications developed in 24 patients; they were life-threatening in only 3. The most common vaso-occlusive symptoms were migraine headache (in 12 patients) and erythromelalgia (in 3). Minor hemorrhagic complications occurred in six patients, and none was life-threatening. Serious complications (one cerebral and two myocardial infarctions) occurred in three patients, all of whom recovered. Two deaths occurred, neither of which was attributable to essential thrombocythemia. The treatment regimens used were chemotherapy in 9 patients, antiaggregating agents in 7, radioactive phosphorus in 1, the newer platelet-lowering agent anagrelide in 10, and only observation in 29. No treatment-related acute leukemias developed. This series of young patients with essential thrombocythemia, the largest to date, demonstrates a low incidence of life-threatening complications and a favorable long-term prognosis. Therapeutic recommendations should remain conservative, and potential leukemogens should be avoided unless serious complications develop. Anagrelide may be useful in young patients with thrombocythemia who are symptomatic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center