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Leukemia. 2012 Apr;26(4):716-9. doi: 10.1038/leu.2011.258. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Incidence and risk factors for bleeding in 1104 patients with essential thrombocythemia or prefibrotic myelofibrosis diagnosed according to the 2008 WHO criteria.

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Division of Hematology, Research Foundation, Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy.


In an international study of 1104 patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET), a histological review according to the 2008 World Health Organization (WHO) criteria confirmed ET in 891 patients (WHO-ET, 81%), and revised the diagnosis to prefibrotic primary myelofibrosis (PMF) in 180 patients (PMF, 16%). Major bleeding during follow-up occurred in 55 (6%) WHO-ET and 21 (12%) PMF patients (P = 0.009), at a rate of 0.79 and 1.39% patients per year, respectively, (P = 0.039). In a multivariable analysis, predictors of bleeding included diagnosis of PMF (P = 0.05; hazard ratio (HR) 1.74), leukocytosis (P = 0.04; HR 1.74), previous hemorrhage (P = 0.025; HR 2.35) and aspirin therapy (P=0.001; HR 3.16). The analysis restricted to patients with WHO-ET confirmed previous hemorrhage (P = 0.043; HR 1.92) and aspirin (P=0.027; HR 2.24) as independent risk factors. The current study reveals that major bleeding associated with thrombocytosis might be relatively specific to PMF, as opposed to WHO-defined ET. Furthermore, it shows that low-dose aspirin exacerbates these hemorrhagic events of PMF. In contrast, thrombocytosis per se was not a risk factor for bleeding; however, low-dose aspirin had a synergistic hemorrhagic effect unmasking the bleeding tendency of patients with extreme thrombocytosis. These observations carry significant therapeutic implications in these two WHO entities.

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