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Blood. 2011 Feb 3;117(5):1472-82. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-08-270033. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

How I treat essential thrombocythemia.

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Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


In the past 5 years we have witnessed significant advances in both the diagnostic process and optimal therapy for patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET). Insights into the underlying molecular mechanisms have been accompanied by the development of new diagnostic tests and by an improved understanding of the relationship between ET and other related myeloproliferative neoplasms, such as polycythemia vera and primary myelofibrosis. In the first part of this review, we describe how recent molecular and histologic studies can be integrated into a streamlined diagnostic process that is applicable to everyday clinical practice. We also address areas of current diagnostic controversy, including heterogeneity within ET and the phenotypic overlap between ET, polycythemia vera, and primary myelofibrosis. In the second part, we provide an overview of our current approach to the treatment of ET, including risk stratification, choice of cytoreductive agent, and a consideration of special situations such as the pregnant or perioperative patient. Areas of controversy discussed include the identification of those at high risk of complications and therapeutic decisions in the younger patient.

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