Bone Cancer Myeloproliferative Disorders Chronic

Chronic myeloproliferative disorders are slow growing blood cancers. The blood stem cells in the bone marrow develop into too many of one or more types of blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets). A myeloproliferative disorder usually gets worse slowly as more blood cells develop.

Types and Symptoms of Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders

The six types of myeloproliferative blood disorders are:

  • Chronic eosinophilic leukemia: Too many white blood cells called eosinophils develop.
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia: Too many white blood cells called granulocytes develop.
  • Chronic neutrophilic leukemia: Too many white blood cells called neutrophils develop.
  • Essential thrombocythemia (ET): Too many platelets develop.
  • Myelofibrosis: The bone marrow produces too much collagen or fibrous tissue, which reduces the marrow’s ability to produce blood cells. The spleen and liver take over blood cell production but can’t make enough blood cells.
  • Polycythemia vera (PV): Too many red blood cells develop.

The symptoms of a myeloproliferative disorder depend on the specific disorder, and range from fatigue and headache to heart attack and stroke. One common symptom, except for essential thrombocythemia, is an enlarged spleen, which can cause pain in the abdomen and a feeling of fullness. (The spleen filters blood and plays a role in producing red blood cells.)

Treatment of Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders

The treatment for a myeloproliferative blood disorder depends on the type and severity of the disorder, as well as the patient’s age and general health. If your condition is mild, your healthcare provider may take a watch and wait approach, monitoring your condition closely without treatment until symptoms appear or change.

The most common treatments for a myeloproliferative disorder are:

  • Biologic therapy (biotherapy or immunotherapy) to improve your body’s natural ability to fight disease.
  • Blood transfusions to provide you with red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets to replace blood cells destroyed by disease or cancer treatment.
  • Chemotherapy
  • Other drug therapy. For example, anagrelide therapy or low-dose aspirin can reduce the risk of blood clots if you have too many platelets in your blood.
  • Phlebotomy is a procedure that removes blood from a vein and is sometimes used to remove extra red blood cells from the body.
  • Platelet apheresis uses a special machine that takes your blood, sends it through a blood cell separator that removes the platelets, and returns it to your bloodstream.
  • Radiation therapy may involve either external radiation or implanted internal radiation devices.
  • Splenectomy is a surgery that removes an enlarged spleen.
  • Stem cell transplant.

Although a myeloproliferative blood disorder isn’t generally curable, treatments may improve symptoms and prevent complications, such as gout, anemia, bleeding, kidney or liver failure and heart attacks or stroke. Another potentially serious complication is that chronic myeloproliferative disorders sometimes develop into acute leukemia, a fast growing cancer in which the body makes too many abnormal immature white blood cells.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (2009), the survival rate for myeloproliferative disorders depends on both the type of disorder and the symptoms.


Masonic Cancer Center. (2005). Chronic myeloproliferative disorders treatment. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from

National Cancer Institute. (2010). General information about chronic myeloproliferative disorders. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2009). Myeloproliferative disorders. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from