Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, director of the Hanns A. Pielenz Clinical Research Center for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses accelerated phase myelofibrosis (MF).
Traditionally, patients with MF are separated into chronic phase, defined by 0% to 10% blasts in the blood; accelerated phase, defined by 10% to 20% blasts; and blastic phase or acute myeloid leukemia (AML), defined by over 20% blasts. Verstovsek says that is it important to understand the transformation from chronic to blastic phase, as AML is very deadly with an average survival of 6 to 8 months.
Now, it is understood that patients transition through an accelerated phase—patients do not transform from chronic to blastic phase overnight. In this accelerated phase, blasts slowly increase, and patients develop clinical characteristics. Verstovsek says that defining what accelerated phase is will give physicians the chance to intervene earlier, before AML occurs. Focusing on this group of patients who are in transition by implementing therapies early on may allow the opportunity to move onto transplant, which may result in cure, Verstovsek says.