Anxiety and distress are common among patients with BCR-ABL-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and may correlate with disease-related symptom burden, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.1

To investigate the psychological manifestations among patients with BCR-ABL-negative MPNs, which include polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis, and essential thrombocythemia, researchers conducted surveys measuring anxiety, distress, and depression in 117 patients with BCR-ABL-negative MPNs. Of those, 31.2% had polycythemia vera, 28.4% had myelofibrosis, 28.4% had essential thrombocythemia, and 11.9% had another type of MPN.

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MPN was diagnosed in nearly 29%, 20%, 24%, 20%, and 7.5% more than 10 years ago, 5 to 10 years ago, 3 to 5 years ago, 1 to 3 years ago, and less than 1 year ago, respectively.

Results showed that 40.4% met National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) criteria for distress and 38.5% met Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) criteria for distress.

In addition, 31.3% met HADS criteria for anxiety and 12.5% met HADS criteria for depression.

Investigators found that patients with polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis, and other MPNs experienced significantly more distress than patients with essential thrombocythemia (P =.016).

The study further revealed that non-white patients (P =.015) and those with polycythemia vera or myelofibrosis (P =.015) more frequently reported distress than white patients and those with essential thrombocythemia.

Additional studies are needed to determine the extent to which these psychological manifestations correspond to disease-related symptom burden in this population.


1. McFarland DC, Polizzi H, Mascarenhas J, Kremyanskaya M, Holland J, Hoffman R. Psychological symptoms among patients with BCR-ABL–negative myeloproliferative neoplasms. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2016;14:1563-1570.