Purpose of review: The purpose of the review was to provide a contemporary update of novel agents and targets under investigation in myelofibrosis in the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor era.
Recent findings: Myelofibrosis (MF) is a clonal stem cell disease characterized by marrow fibrosis and a heterogeneous disease phenotype with a variable degree of splenomegaly, cytopenias, and constitutional symptoms that significantly impact quality of life and survival. Overactive JAK/STAT signaling is a hallmark of MF. The only approved therapy for MF, JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib, can ameliorate splenomegaly, improve symptoms, and prolong survival in some patients. Therapeutic challenges remain, however. Myelosuppression limits the use of ruxolitinib in some patients, eventual drug resistance is common, and the underlying malignant clone persists despite therapy. A deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of MF has informed the development of additional agents. Promising targets under investigation include JAK1 and JAK2 and downstream intermediates in related signaling pathways, epigenetic modifiers, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and immune regulators.
Keywords: Drug development; JAK inhibitors; Myelofibrosis; Myeloproliferative neoplasms; Novel therapies.