Recent studies have demonstrated neutrophil overexpression of the polycythemia rubra vera-1 (PRV-1) gene in polycythemia vera (PV) but not in secondary or spurious polycythemia (SP). To validate as well as expand upon this novel observation, we conducted a prospective study of 88 subjects: 30 with PV, 22 with SP, 14 with essential thrombocythemia (ET), 12 with myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia (MMM), and 10 controls. To minimize interstudy methodologic differences, we used a published real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay. The proportion of patients with increased neutrophil PRV-1 expression was 83% in PV, 21% in ET, 42% in MMM, 18% in SP, and 0% in controls. All 5 MMM patients with PRV-1 up-regulation had an antecedent history of PV. We conclude that neutrophil PRV-1 up-regulation is a characteristic feature of PV that may not be affected by fibrotic transformation. However, quantifying neutrophil PRV-1 mRNA, while complementary to other tests, is not in itself sufficient for the diagnosis of PV.