Ruben Mesa, MD
Initially used in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), interferon has evolved in the cancer treatment paradigm, with most studies showing the medication to be safe and effective in controlling high platelet counts and improving difficult symptoms in hard-to-treat patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).
“Interferon, way back when [before] imatinib (Gleevec), was used in CML in the short-acting formulation at a high dose,” said Ruben A. Mesa, MD. “This was the first evidence that it was really active in MPNs before there were targeted therapies for [patients with] CML.”
More recently, longer-acting pegylated interferons have been evaluated in phase III clinical trials: pegylated interferon alfa-2a in patients with polycythemia vera (PV) and essential thrombocythemia (ET) and ropeginterferon alfa-2b in those with high-risk PV.
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