Blast Transformation in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms: Risk Factors, Biological Findings, and Targeted Therapeutic Options

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Myeloproliferative neoplasms represent a heterogenous group of disorders of the hematopoietic stem cell, with an intrinsic risk of evolution into acute myeloid leukemia. The frequency of leukemic evolution varies according to myeloproliferative neoplasms subtype. It is highest in primary myelofibrosis, where it is estimated to be approximately 10-20% at 10 years, following by polycythemia vera, with a risk of 2.3% at 10 years and 7.9% at 20 years. In essential thrombocythemia, however, transformation to acute myeloid leukemia is considered relatively uncommon. Different factors are associated with leukemic evolution in myeloproliferative neoplasms, but generally include advanced age, leukocytosis, exposure to myelosuppressive therapy, cytogenetic abnormalities, as well as increased number of mutations in genes associated with myeloid neoplasms. The prognosis of these patients is dismal, with a medium overall survival ranging from 2.6-7.0 months. Currently, there is no standard of care for managing the blast phase of these diseases, and no treatment to date has consistently led to prolonged survival and/or hematological remission apart from an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Nevertheless, new targeted agents are currently under development. In this review, we present the current evidence regarding risk factors, molecular characterization, and treatment options for this critical subset of myeloproliferative neoplasms patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE1839
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 13 2019


  • blast phase
  • mutations
  • myeloproliferative neoplasms
  • secondary acute leukemia
  • targeted therapies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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