Myeloproliferative neoplasms: A decade of discoveries and treatment advances

Am J Hematol. 2016 Jan;91(1):50-8. doi: 10.1002/ajh.24221.


Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are clonal stem cell diseases, first conceptualized in 1951 by William Dameshek, and historically included chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET), and primary myelofibrosis (PMF). In 1960, Nowell and Hungerford discovered an invariable association between the Philadelphia chromosome (subsequently shown to harbor the causal BCR-ABL1 mutation) and CML; accordingly, the term MPN is primarily reserved for PV, ET, and PMF, although it includes other related clinicopathologic entities, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system. In 2005, William Vainchenker and others described a Janus kinase 2 mutation (JAK2V617F) in MPN and this was followed by a series of additional descriptions of mutations that directly or indirectly activate JAK-STAT: JAK2 exon 12, myeloproliferative leukemia virus oncogene (MPL) and calreticulin (CALR) mutations. The discovery of these, mostly mutually exclusive, "driver" mutations has contributed to revisions of the WHO diagnostic criteria and risk stratification in MPN. Mutations other than JAK2, CALR and MPL have also been described in MPN and shown to provide additional prognostic information. From the standpoint of treatment, over the last 50 years, Louis Wasserman from the Unites States and Tiziano Barbui from Italy had skillfully organized and led a number of important clinical trials, whose results form the basis for current treatment strategies in MPN. More recently, allogeneic stem cell transplant, as a potentially curative treatment modality, and JAK inhibitors, as palliative drugs, have been added to the overall therapeutic armamentarium in myelofibrosis. In the current review, I will summarize the important advances made in the last 10 years regarding the science and practice of MPN.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase 2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Janus Kinase 2 / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / mortality
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / therapy*
  • Mutation
  • Polycythemia Vera / genetics
  • Polycythemia Vera / mortality
  • Polycythemia Vera / therapy*
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / genetics
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / mortality
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Thrombocythemia, Essential / genetics
  • Thrombocythemia, Essential / mortality
  • Thrombocythemia, Essential / therapy*


  • JAK2 protein, human
  • Janus Kinase 2