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Am J Hematol. 1995 May;49(1):39-42.

Essential thrombocythemia: a retrospective analysis of 39 cases.

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  • 1University Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong.


Thirty-nine Chinese patients presenting as essential thrombocythemia (ET) were analyzed retrospectively. The median age at presentation was 69 years and the M:F ratio was 1.35:1. At diagnosis, 33 cases (84%) were asymptomatic and the diagnosis was made incidentally, while 3 cases (8%) presented with small vessel, and 2 cases (5%) with large vessel, thrombosis. One patient (3%) presented with minor bleeding. The platelet count ranged from 0.9-34 x 10(12)/l. Of 12 karyotypes done, 2 cases were abnormal, both showing the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome. First-line therapy was radiophosphorus (32P) in 3 cases, melphalan in 20 cases, and hydroxyurea in 12 cases; 4 cases did not receive specific therapy. During the follow-up (mean = 4 years), no thrombotic or bleeding episodes were observed. One patient with the Ph chromosome underwent blastic transformation. These results indicate that bleeding and thrombosis occur significantly less in Chinese patients than in Western patients. The Ph chromosome appears to be a bad prognostic indicator. Because of the very low incidence of complications and good prognosis, the authors believe that cytoreductive therapy is best achieved by the use of hydroxyurea instead of alkylating agents or radiophorphours, as the latter agents are potentially leukemogenic.

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