Clinical efficacy and antiangiogenic activity of thalidomide in myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia. A pilot study

P. P. Piccaluga, G. Visani, S. A. Pileri, S. Ascani, T. Grafone, A. Isidori, M. Malagola, C. Finelli, G. Martinelli, P. Ricci, M. Baccarani, S. Tura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increased neoangiogenesis has been reported in myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia (MMM). Thus we studied the effects of thalidomide, an antiangiogenic drug, in 12 MMM patients. Before treatment, all the cases showed a significantly increased micro-vessel density (MVD); in all eight tested cases bFGF and VEGF plasma levels were higher than controls. All patients presented disease progression in the last 3 months with standard therapy, regarding splenomegaly, anemia and/or thrombocytopenia and/or hyperleukocytosis. Thalidomide was administered at daily doses increasing from 100 to 600 mg. Eleven out of 12 patients were evaluable. No progression of disease was seen during the treatment in any case. In particular, spleen size decreased in 7/11 patients, anemia improved in 3/4 (two are now transfusion independent), thrombocytopenia in 2/2 and hyperleukocytosis in 2/5 patients. Side-effects were frequent, although not severe. After treatment, VEGF and bFGF plasma levels varied widely and in selected cases decreased. In particular, VEGF and/or bFGF decreased in responders and in 1/3 non-responders. Moreover, MVD significantly decreased in all the responders evaluated after treatment. We conclude that thalidomide is a feasible therapy in MMM patients and looks promising at least to control the growth progression of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1609-1614
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002


  • Angiogenesis
  • Anti-angiogenic therapy
  • MVD
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Thalidomide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cancer Research

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