Mood disturbances are more prevalent in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) than in the general population; therefore, assessment and interventions are needed for this patient population, according to a study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer.1

Persistence, prevalence, and severity of fatigue are greater in patients with MPNs; however, information regarding factors contributing to increased fatigue is limited. To address this knowledge gap, MPN investigators and patients/advocates developed a 70-item, Internet-based survey regarding fatigue. The Mayo Clinic Survey Research Center hosted the survey, which generated responses from 1788 respondents internationally.

The survey revealed that fatigue is prevalent and severe among patients with MPNs. Factors significantly associated with greater fatigue included higher body mass index (P<.001), current use of alcohol (P<.001), and current tobacco use (P=.0025). Patients who reported not exercising were more likely to experience moderate/severe fatigue compared with patients who reported exercising at least once per week (P<.001).

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Medical comorbidities (restless leg syndrome, diabetes mellitus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and chronic kidney disease) and current use of some medications (antidepressants, antihistamines, antianxiety medications, and prescription pain medications) were also associated with greater or worsened fatigue, respectively. In addition, scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire (>2) indicated a high probability of depression in almost one-quarter of respondents.

Other measurements that indicated a higher likelihood of depressive symptoms in these patients included higher Brief Fatigue Inventory score, Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Total Symptom Score, and individual symptom items.

“The management of fatigue should be multifactorial, with a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan to address all modifiable fatigue etiologies,” the researchers conclude.


1. Scherber RM, Kosiorek HE, Senyak Z, et al. Comprehensively understanding fatigue in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms [published online ahead of print December 15, 2015]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.29753.