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Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers

Myeloproliferative Disorder (MPD) Treatment

Myeloproliferative disorders are a group of conditions that cause blood cells — platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells — to grow abnormally in the bone marrow.

In myeloproliferative disorders, too many blood stem cells develop into one or more types of blood cells. The disorders usually get worse slowly as the number of extra blood cells increases.

Though myeloproliferative disorders are serious, and may pose certain health risks, people with these conditions often live for many years after diagnosis. The prognosis largely depends on the type of disorder.

Myeloproliferative disorders are caused by overproduction of one or more types of cells. No one knows what triggers the overproduction of cells, but it may be due to genetics or environment.

Types of Myeoloproliferative Disorders

The type of myeloproliferative disorder is based on whether too many red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets are being made. Sometimes the body will make too many of more than one type of blood cell, but usually one type of blood cell is affected more than the others.

Myeloproliferative disorders include the following six types:

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Primary myelofibrosis (also called chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis)
  • Essential thrombocythemia
  • Chronic neutrophilic leukemia
  • Chronic eosinophilic leukemia

Treatments for Myeloproliferative Disorders

There is no cure for most myeloproliferative disorders.

There are, however, several treatments for myeloproliferative disorders that help improve symptoms and prevent complications, including:

  • Watchful waiting
  • Phlebotomy
  • Platelet apheresis
  • Transfusion therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Biologic therapy
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant

Learn more about myeloproliferative disorders from the National Cancer Institute.