Primary myelofibrosis: 2019 update on diagnosis, risk-stratification and management

Am J Hematol. 2018 Dec;93(12):1551-1560. doi: 10.1002/ajh.25230. Epub 2018 Oct 26.


Disease overview: Primary myelofibrosis (PMF) is a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) characterized by stem cell-derived clonal myeloproliferation that is often but not always accompanied by JAK2, CALR, or MPL mutations; additional disease features include bone marrow stromal reaction including reticulin fibrosis, abnormal cytokine expression, anemia, hepatosplenomegaly, extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH), constitutional symptoms, cachexia, leukemic progression, and shortened survival.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis of PMF is based on bone marrow morphology. Presence of JAK2, CALR, or MPL mutation, expected in ∼ 90% of the patients, is supportive but not essential for diagnosis. The revised 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification system distinguishes "prefibrotic" from "overtly fibrotic" PMF; the former might mimic ET in its presentation and it is prognostically relevant to distinguish the two.

Risk stratification: Two new prognostic systems for PMF have recently been introduced: GIPSS (genetically inspired prognostic scoring system) and MIPSS70+ version 2.0 (mutation- and karyotype-enhanced international prognostic scoring system). GIPSS is based exclusively on mutations and karyotype. MIPSS70+ version 2.0 utilizes both genetic and clinical risk factors. GIPSS features four and MIPSS70+ version 2.0 five risk categories. MIPSS70+ version 2.0 requires an online score calculator ( while GIPPS offers a lower complexity prognostic tool.

Risk-adapted therapy: Observation alone is advised for MIPSS70+ version 2.0 "low" and "very low" risk disease (estimated 10-year survival 56%-92%); allogeneic stem cell transplant is the preferred treatment of choice for "very high" and "high" risk disease (estimated 10-year survival 0-13%); treatment-requiring patients with intermediate-risk disease (estimated 10-year survival 30%) are best served by participating in clinical trials. All other treatment approaches, including the use of JAK2 inhibitors, are mostly palliative and should not be used in the absence of clear treatment indications. Conventional treatment for anemia includes androgens, prednisone, thalidomide and danazol, for symptomatic splenomegaly hydroxyurea and ruxolitinib and for constitutional symptoms ruxolitinib. Splenectomy is considered for drug-refractory splenomegaly and involved field radiotherapy for nonhepatosplenic EMH and extremity bone pain.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Karyotype
  • Mutation
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / classification
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / genetics
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Therapeutics / methods