Splenectomy in myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia: a single-institution experience with 223 patients

Blood. 2000 Apr 1;95(7):2226-33.


In a 20-year period, 223 patients (median age, 64.8 years) with myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia (MMM) had therapeutic splenectomy at our institution. Primary indications for surgery were transfusion-dependent anemia (45.3%), symptomatic splenomegaly (39. 0%), portal hypertension (10.8%), and severe thrombocytopenia (4.9%). Operative mortality and morbidity rates were 9% and 31%, respectively. The 203 survivors of surgery had a median postsplenectomy survival time (PSS) of 27 months (range, 0-155). Among preoperative variables, thrombocytopenia (platelet count less than 100 x 10(9/)L) and nonhypercellular bone marrow were identified as independent risk factors for decreased PSS. Durable remissions in constitutional symptoms, transfusion-dependent anemia, portal hypertension, and severe thrombocytopenia were achieved in 67%, 23%, 50%, and 0% of the patients, respectively. Histologic or cytogenetic features of bone marrow obtained before splenectomy did not predict a response in cytopenias. After splenectomy, substantial enlargement of the liver and marked thrombocytosis occurred in 16.1% and 22.0% of the patients, respectively. The thrombocytosis was associated with an increased risk of perioperative thrombosis and decreased PSS. The rate of blast transformation (BT) was 16.3%, and the risk of BT was higher in the presence of increased spleen mass and preoperative thrombocytopenia. However, the PSS of patients with BT was not significantly different from that of patients without BT. We conclude that presplenectomy thrombocytopenia in MMM may be a surrogate for advanced disease and is associated with an increased risk of BT and inferior PSS. However, the development of BT after splenectomy may not affect overall survival and does not undermine the palliative role of the procedure for the other indications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Female
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / etiology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / complications
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / mortality
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / surgery*
  • Splenectomy*
  • Splenomegaly
  • Survival Rate
  • Thrombocytopenia / etiology
  • Thrombocytosis