Mutation landscape in patients with myelofibrosis receiving ruxolitinib or hydroxyurea

Blood Cancer J. 2018 Nov 22;8(12):122. doi: 10.1038/s41408-018-0152-x.


Refractoriness to ruxolitinib in patients with myelofibrosis (MF) was associated with clonal evolution; however, whether genetic instability is promoted by ruxolitinib remains unsettled. We evaluated the mutation landscape in 71 MF patients receiving ruxolitinib (n = 46) and hydroxyurea (n = 25) and correlated with response. A spleen volume response (SVR) was obtained in 57% and 12%, respectively. Highly heterogenous patterns of mutation acquisition/loss and/or changes of variant allele frequency (VAF) were observed in the 2 patient groups without remarkable differences. In patients receiving ruxolitinib, driver mutation type and high-molecular risk profile (HMR) at baseline did not impact on response rate, while HMR and sole ASXL1 mutations predicted for SVR loss at 3 years. In patients with SVR, a decrease of ≥ 20% of JAK2V617F VAF predicted for SVR duration. VAF increase of non-driver mutations and clonal progression at follow-up correlated with SVR loss and treatment discontinuation, and clonal progression also predicted for shorter survival. These data indicate that (i) ruxolitinib does not appreciably promote clonal evolution compared with hydroxyurea, (ii) VAF increase of pre-existing and/or (ii) acquisition of new mutations while on treatment correlated with higher rate of discontinuation and/or death, and (iv) reduction of JAK2V617F VAF associated with SVR duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxyurea / adverse effects
  • Hydroxyurea / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Nitriles
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / diagnosis
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / genetics*
  • Pyrazoles / administration & dosage
  • Pyrazoles / adverse effects
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrimidines
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ruxolitinib
  • Hydroxyurea