Treatment Option Overview
Radiation therapy to treat myeloproliferative disorders is usually directed at the spleen.
Other drug therapy
Anagrelide therapy is used to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients who have too many platelets in their blood. Low-doseaspirin may also be used to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Thalidomide and lenalidomide are drugs that prevent blood vessels from growing into areas of tumor cells.
See Drugs Approved for Myeloproliferative Disorders for more information.
Splenectomy (surgery to remove the spleen) may be done if the spleen is enlarged.
Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight cancer or other diseases. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against disease. This type of treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy. Interferon alfa and pegylated interferon alpha are biologic agents commonly used to treat some chronic myeloproliferative disorders.
Erythropoieticgrowth factors are also biologic agents. They are used to stimulate the bone marrow to make red blood cells.
High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant
High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant is a method of giving high doses of chemotherapy and replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by the cancer treatment. Stem cells (immature blood cells) are removed from the blood or bone marrow of the patient or a donor and are frozen and stored. After the chemotherapy is completed, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to the patient through an infusion. These reinfused stem cells grow into (and restore) the body's blood cells.
Stem cell transplant (Step 1). Blood is taken from a vein in the arm of the donor. The patient or another person may be the donor. The blood flows through a machine that removes the stem cells. Then the blood is returned to the donor through a vein in the other arm.
Stem cell transplant (Step 2). The patient receives chemotherapy to kill blood-forming cells. The patient may receive radiation therapy (not shown).
Stem cell transplant (Step 3). The patient receives stem cells through a catheter placed into a blood vessel in the chest.
New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.
This summary section describes treatments that are being studied in clinical trials. It may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are targeted therapy drugs that block signals needed for tumors to grow. JAK2 tyrosine kinase inhibitors are targeted therapy drugs being studied in clinical trials to treat primary myelofibrosis.