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Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs)

​Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs) are a group of blood cancers that cause an increase in the number of blood cells.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Blood clots leading to heart attacks, strokes, or swelling of the leg etc.
  • Frequent headaches
  • Tiredness​
  • Itchy skin
  • Night sweats
  • Bone pain
  • Problems with sight such as blurred vision
  • Bruising or unusual bleeding

Many people with MPNs, however, do not have any symptoms. The disorder often develops and progresses slowly.

You may be diagnosed after a routine blood test.

Causes and Risk factors

​Most patients do not have any identifiable risk, although exposure to intense radiation and certain chemicals could be possible risk factors.



Treatment depends on the type of MPNs. The aim of treatment is usually to control symptoms rather than cure the condition. Many people with MPNs feel well and only need to be treated with oral drugs.

Treatment may include:

  • Drugs to control blood count: These might include weak forms of chemotherapy or drugs that target the immune system.
  • Venesection: blood is removed to decrease the amount of red blood cells in the body. 
  • Targeted therapy: drugs targeting cells' functions affected by the disease.
  • Bone marrow / stem cell transplant: this treatment aims to cure high risk MPNs.​

Contributed by Haematology