Background: Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) encounter thromboses due to multiple known risk factors. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a thrombotic syndrome mediated by anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4)/heparin antibodies with undetermined significance for thrombosis in MPN. We hypothesized that anti-PF4/heparin Ab might occur in MPN and promote thrombosis.
Methods: Anti-PF4/heparin antibodies were analyzed in 127 MPN patients including 76 PV and 51 ET. Screening, validation testing, and isotype testing of anti-PF4/heparin Ab were correlated with disease characteristics.
Results: Anti-PF4/heparin antibodies were detected in 21% of PV and 12% of ET versus 0.3-3% in heparin-exposed patients. Validation testing confirmed anti-PF4/heparin immunoglobulins in 15% of PV and 10% of ET. Isotype testing detected 9.2% IgG and 5.3% IgM in PV and exclusively IgM in ET. IgG-positive PV patients encountered thromboses in 57.1% suggesting anti-PF4/heparin IgG may contribute to higher risk for thrombosis in MPN. Overall, 45% of PV patients experienced thromboses with 11.8% positive for anti-PF4/heparin IgG versus 7.1% in PV without thrombosis.
Conclusion: Anti-PF4/heparin antibodies occur endogenously and more frequently in MPN than upon heparin exposure. Thrombotic risk increases in anti-PF4/heparin IgG-positive PV reflecting potential implications and calling for larger, confirmatory cohorts. Anti-PF4/heparin IgG should be assessed upon thrombosis in PV to facilitate avoidance of heparin in anti-PF4/heparin IgG-positive PV.