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Blood Cancer J. 2018 Nov 12;8(11):112. doi: 10.1038/s41408-018-0151-y.

Hydroxyurea prevents arterial and late venous thrombotic recurrences in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms but fails in the splanchnic venous district. Pooled analysis of 1500 cases.

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Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Roma, Italy.
Istituto di Ematologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy.
FROM Research Foundation, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy.
Division of Hematology, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy.
CRIMM-Center of Research and Innovation of Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Careggi, and Department Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy.
FROM Research Foundation, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy.


We collected 1500 patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and arterial or venous thrombosis (935/565), pooling three independent cohorts previously reported. Long-term treatment with antiplatelet drugs or vitamin K-antagonists (VKA) was given to 1391 (92.7%) patients; 975 (65%) patients received hydroxyurea (HU). We recorded 348 recurrences (venous in 142 cases) over 6075 patient-years, with an incidence rate of 5.7 per 100 pt-years (95% CI 5.1-6.4). The site of the first thrombosis predicted the site of recurrence. Independent factors influencing the rate of novel arterial thrombosis were HU (HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.46-0.98), antiplatelet treatment (HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.35-0.82), and VKA (HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.35-0.96). On the contrary, the recurrence of venous thromboses was significantly diminished only by VKA (HR 0.60, 95% CI 0.37-0.95), while HU prevented late but not early recurrences after venous thrombosis at common sites. Of note, we failed to demonstrate a positive effect of HU in the prevention of recurrent splanchnic vein thrombosis. In conclusion, in MPN patients, HU plays a role in the prevention of arterial thrombosis, together with aspirin and VKA, whereas its action in the prevention of recurrent venous thrombosis is uncertain. Such findings call for future studies to optimize and personalize secondary prophylaxis after MPN-related thrombosis.

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