Management of hydroxyurea resistant or intolerant polycythemia vera

Leuk Lymphoma. 2021 Oct;62(10):2310-2319. doi: 10.1080/10428194.2021.1901092. Epub 2021 May 5.


Polycythemia vera is a Philadelphia negative myeloproliferative neoplasm characterized by erythrocytosis in which the major cause of morbidity and mortality is thrombosis. Aspirin and hematocrit reduction by venesection or cytoreductive therapy are at the cornerstone of management. First line cytoreductive therapy in high-risk patients is hydroxyurea; however, its use is associated with toxicities and resistance in a significant proportion of patients. In a disease with a long overall survival with appropriate treatment, it is imperative that other treatment options do not accelerate the risk of progression to acute leukemia. The following review will appraise the evidence of interferon, ruxolitinib, and other agents in management of hydroxyurea resistant or intolerant polycythemia vera.

Keywords: PEGylated interferon alpha; Polycythemia vera; hydroxyurea resistance/intolerance; ruxolitinib.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / therapeutic use
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute*
  • Phlebotomy
  • Polycythemia Vera* / diagnosis
  • Polycythemia Vera* / drug therapy
  • Thrombosis*


  • Hydroxyurea