Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Hematol. 2017 Nov;92(11):1131-1136. doi: 10.1002/ajh.24851. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

A reappraisal of the benefit-risk profile of hydroxyurea in polycythemia vera: A propensity-matched study.

Author information

F.R.O.M. Research Foundation, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy.
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, CRIMM, Center of Research and Innovation of Myeloproliferative neoplasms, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy.
Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy.


The use of hydroxyurea (HU) as first line therapy in polycythemia vera (PV) has been criticized because no solid demonstration that this drug prevents thrombosis or prolongs survival has been so far produced. Here we present the outcomes of a large cohort of patients with PV included in the European Collaborative Low-dose Aspirin (ECLAP) study. We selected 1,042 patients who, during the follow-up, had received only phlebotomy (PHL) or HU to maintain the hematocrit level < 45%. To assure comparability, we conducted a propensity score matching analysis. The two groups (PHL n = 342 and HU n = 681) were well balanced for the parameters included in the propensity score (overall balance: χ2  = 2.44, P = 0.964). Over a comparable period of follow-up (PHL = 29.9 vs. HU = 34.7 months), we documented an advantage of HU over PHL consistently significant with respect to the incidence of fatal/non-fatal cardiovascular (CV) events (5.8 vs. 3.0 per 100 person-years in PHL vs. HU group, P = 0.002) and myelofibrosis transformation that was only experienced by patients of PHL group. Evolution to acute leukemia was registered in three patients (two in PHL and one in HU group). The excess of mortality and total CV events in the PHL patients was restricted to the high-risk group, and, compared with HU cases, was significant higher in the PHL patients who failed to reach the hematocrit target < 0.45% (P = 0.000). In conclusion, this analysis provides reliable and qualified estimates of the therapeutic profile of HU and PHL treatments for future experimental studies and for the management of PV in clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center