Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms, such as polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis, and their physicians frequently view the assessment of disease prognosis, disease burden, and treatment goals differently, according to a study published in the journal Cancer.1

Although patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms have increased mortality rates and experience burdensome symptoms that negatively impact quality of life, limited data exist concerning patient and physician perceptions about symptoms associated with myeloproliferative neoplasms and treatment goals.

Therefore, researchers sought to analyze data from the MPN Landmark survey, the first observational study to assess patient and physician perception about these malignancies among contemporary populations, to better understand these perceptions with the ultimate goals of optimizing patient care and improving clinical outcomes.

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For the study, investigators included survey data from 380 previously diagnosed patients with polycythemia vera, 207 with myelofibrosis, and 226 with essential thrombocythemia. Both patients and physicians completed questionnaires that assessed perceptions of prognostic risk assessment, symptom burden, treatment goals and expectations, and treatment satisfaction.

Results showed that many patients in the MPN Landmark Survey failed to recognize a connection between common disease symptoms and their diagnosis, suggesting that improved patient education is needed to better prepare patients to communicate disease-related symptoms with their physicians so that quality of life may be improved.

In addition, patients frequently reported slowing disease progression as their primary treatment goal; however, insufficient data have suggested that currently available treatment strategies delay progression of myeloproliferative neoplasms or cure the disease. Improved patient-physician communication may be warranted to appropriately manage patient expectations and to help patients set goals that are realistically achievable.


1. Mesa RA, Miller CB, Thyne M, et al. Differences in treatment goals and perception of symptom burden between patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and hematologists/oncologists in the United States: Findings from the MPN Landmark survey. Cancer. 2016 Sep 30. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30325. [Epub ahead of print]