Myeloproliferative disorders treatment, like primary bone cancer treatment, depends on many factors. A chronic myeloproliferative disorder occurs when the blood stem cells in the bone marrow develop into too many of one or more types of blood cells. The disorder gradually gets worse as extra blood cells develop.
Myeloproliferative disorders include:
- Chronic eosinophilic leukemia
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia
- Chronic neutrophilic leukemia
- Essential thrombocythemia
- Polycythemia vera
- Primary myelofibrosis (chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis).
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.
If your doctor does begin treatment, the types of standard myeloproliferative disorders treatment are:
- Biologic therapy (biotherapy or immunotherapy): You receive substances that augment your body’s natural ability to fight disease. For chronic myeloproliferative disorders, the biologic agent commonly used is interferon alfa. Another biologic agent is erythropoietic growth factor, which can stimulate the bone marrow to make red blood cells.
- Chemotherapy: Drugs, either injected or taken orally, that kill cancer cells.
- Other drug therapy: Anagrelide therapy or low-dose aspirin can reduce the risk of blood clots if you have too many platelets in your blood. Other possible drugs are thalidomide and lenalidomide, which prevent blood vessels from growing in areas where cancer cells are located.
- Phlebotomy: This procedure removes blood from a vein and is sometimes used to remove extra red blood cells from the body.
- Platelet apheresis: Your blood is removed from your body and sent through a machine called a blood cell separator. The blood cell separator removes platelets then returns the blood to your body.
- Radiation therapy: Radiotherapy uses either external radiation or implanted internal radiation devices.
- Splenectomy: If you have an enlarged spleen, surgery to remove the spleen may be necessary.
- Stem cell transplant: Stem cells are removed from your blood or bone marrow or from a donor’s. These cells are frozen and stored. You receive high-dose chemotherapy, and then receive the thawed stem cells through an infusion.
- Transfusion: A blood transfusion provides you with red blood cells, white blood cells (rarely given) or platelets to replace blood cells destroyed by disease or cancer treatment.
Myelodysplastic syndrome treatment attempts to relieve symptoms, slow down the progression of the condition and improve your quality of life. Treatment options range from supportive care that helps relieve symptoms to the use of standard chemotherapy or high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant to slow or prevent the progression of the disease.
Supportive care includes:
- Blood transfusions: Transfusions are particularly important in the treatment of anemia.
- Drug therapy: You may receive deferoxamine to treat the buildup of too much iron if you’re receiving blood transfusions. Lenalidomide or antithymocyte globulin (ATG) may reduce the need for transfusions if you have certain types of myelodysplastic syndrome.
- Growth factor therapy: Erythropoietin can increase the number of red blood cells and decrease the effects of anemia.