Expert Insights

When diagnosing PV, what clinical parameters complicate diagnosis?

Read transcript Close transcript

Polycythemia vera, or PV, is a myeloproliferative neoplasm that is characterized by an increased red cell mass, which is often reflected in increased hematocrit in patients with the disease. The disease can manifest with only an elevated hematocrit, but also there can be an elevation in the white blood cell count and the platelet count.

Symptom-wise, patients can have a variety of symptoms with a diagnosis of PV. And these include, but are not limited to, fatigue, night sweats, fevers, and myalgias. So the diagnosis of PV can be somewhat challenging to make. There are, for example, cases that are known as Masked PV, where patients have many of the findings of classical PV, but they don’t meet the hematocrit cut-off for the current definition of the WHO criteria for PV. We have to keep in mind it is not always easy or possible to distinguish PV from other myeloproliferative neoplasms.

head shot of Dr Shammo
Raajit K Rampal, MD, PhD Hematologic Oncologist Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | New York, NY
Dr Rampal is a hematology-oncology physician specializing in the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and leukemia. As an active researcher, Dr Rampal is working to understand the genetic events that contribute to the development and progression of MPNs/leukemia and is focused on the development of new and innovative approaches to the treatment of these diseases.