Philadelphia-Negative Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Around the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tiziano Barbui, Valerio De Stefano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with a high rate of respiratory failure, thromboembolism, bleeding, and death. Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are prone to both thrombosis and bleeding, calling for special care during COVID-19. We reviewed the clinical features of MPN patients with COVID-19, suggesting guidance for treatment. Recent Findings: One study by the European LeukemiaNet collected 175 MPN patients with COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic, from February to May 2020. Patients with primary myelofibrosis (PMF) were at higher risk of mortality (48%) in comparison with essential thrombocythemia (ET) (25%) and polycythemia vera (19%); the risk of death was higher in those patients who abruptly discontinued ruxolitinib. In patients followed at home, in regular wards, or in ICU, the thrombosis rate was 1.0%, 2.8%, and 18.4%, respectively. Independent risk factors for thrombosis were ET phenotype, transfer to ICU, and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio; major bleeding occurred in 4.3% of patients, particularly those with PMF. Summary: MPN patients with non-severe COVID-19 treated at home should continue their primary or secondary antithrombotic prophylaxis with aspirin or oral anticoagulants. In the case of hospitalization, patients assuming aspirin should add low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) at standard doses. In contrast, LMWH at intermediate/therapeutic doses should replace oral anticoagulants prescribed for atrial fibrillation or previous venous thromboembolism. Intermediate/high doses of LMWH can also be considered in ICU patients with ET, particularly in the case of a rapid decline in the number of platelets and progressive respiratory failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Hematologic Malignancy Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Aspirin
  • Bleeding
  • COVID-19
  • Low molecular weight heparin
  • Myeloproliferative neoplasms
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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