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Radhika Gangaraju, Soo J. Kim, Jing-Fei Dong, Sabina Swierczek and Josef T. Prchal

Pegylated interferon alfa-2a (pegIFNa) is being increasingly used for treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms; however, its side effects, including autoimmune complications, are not unusual. We report on a 47-year-old woman with polycythemia vera (PV) treated with pegIFNa and in complete hematologic remission who developed thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). To our knowledge, thrombotic microangiopathy has been reported as a side effect of interferon (IFN) use in patients with hepatitis and chronic myeloid leukemia, but not in those with PV. Our patient had a low ADAMTS13 level due to an inhibitor, which normalized after withholding pegIFNa and initiating treatment for TTP with therapeutic plasma exchange and corticosteroids. She experienced refractory TTP, necessitating treatment with rituximab and splenectomy. Postsplenectomy, she developed a high platelet count, warranting the need to restart treatment for PV. However, JAK2 V617F allelic burden by real-time PCR was 0.7%, indicating that the increased platelet count was likely secondary to splenectomy. Therefore, we elected to monitor her counts and JAK2 V617F allelic burden closely. With this case report, we hope to alert treating physicians that TTP should be considered as a complication of pegIFNa therapy in PV and that prompt discontinuation of the drug with necessary treatment should be instituted to prevent fatal complications.

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Brady L. Stein, Jason Gotlib, Murat Arcasoy, Marie Huong Nguyen, Neil Shah, Alison Moliterno, Catriona Jamieson, Daniel A. Pollyea, Bart Scott, Martha Wadleigh, Ross Levine, Rami Komrokji, Rebecca Klisovic, Krishna Gundabolu, Patricia Kropf, Meir Wetzler, Stephen T. Oh, Raul Ribeiro, Rita Paschal, Sanjay Mohan, Nikolai Podoltsev, Josef Prchal, Moshe Talpaz, David Snyder, Srdan Verstovsek and Ruben A. Mesa

The classical Philadelphia chromosome–negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), which include essential thrombocythemia, polycythemia vera, and myelofibrosis (MF), are in a new era of molecular diagnosis, ushered in by the identification of the JAK2 V617F and cMPL mutations in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and the CALR mutations in 2013. Coupled with increased knowledge of disease pathogenesis and refined diagnostic criteria and prognostic scoring systems, a more nuanced appreciation has emerged of the burden of MPN in the United States, including the prevalence, symptom burden, and impact on quality of life. Biological advances in MPN have translated into the rapid development of novel therapeutics, culminating in the approval of the first treatment for MF, the JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib. However, certain practical aspects of care, such as those regarding diagnosis, prevention of vascular events, choice of cytoreductive agent, and planning for therapies, present challenges for hematologists/oncologists, and are discussed in this article.