Ruxolitinib in Myelofibrosis and Baseline Thrombocytopenia in Real Life: Results in Dutch Patients and Review of the Literature
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Background: Ruxolitinib is an approved treatment for myelofibrosis patients, but data regarding patients with baseline thrombocytopenia are limited. The EXPAND study recently suggested tolerability of ruxolitinib, with a maximum starting dose of 10 mg 2 times a day (BID). However, the small sample size and vigorous follow-up in this trial hamper direct translation of these results to routine practice. Patients and Methods: We report retrospective data on Dutch ruxolitinib-treated myelofibrosis patients, focusing on those with baseline thrombocytopenia. Additionally, we reviewed current literature regarding ruxolitinib treatment in this subgroup. Results: In our cohort, 12 of 119 patients had a baseline platelet count of < 100 × 109/L. Spleen responses at a mean treatment duration of 25 weeks were documented in 1 of 6 and 15 of 47 patients with and without baseline thrombocytopenia, respectively. Despite a high rate of grade 3 or higher thrombocytopenia in thrombocytopenic versus nonthrombocytopenic patients (42% vs. 15%), no grade 3 or higher hemorrhage was reported. Median doses in thrombocytopenic patients were 15 and 10 mg BID at the start and after 12 weeks of treatment, respectively. Additionally, 238 thrombocytopenic patients were identified in the available literature, of whom 59 were treated in routine practice. Incidences of severe thrombocytopenia reported separately for patients with baseline thrombocytopenia were 30% to 59% (grade 3 or higher) and 4% to 60% (grade 4). Severe bleeding, pooled across our data and evaluable studies, occurred in 2.4%. Conclusion: Ruxolitinib treatment appears to be safe for patients with platelet counts of 50 to 100 × 109/L in real-life practice. We did not find any reason to discourage a starting dose of 10 mg BID in this subgroup. Real-life data on the treatment of myelofibrosis patients with baseline thrombocytopenia with ruxolitinib are limited. We present the outcomes of thrombocytopenic Dutch patients treated within a compassionate-use program. Additionally, we performed a literature review. We conclude that treatment of patients with platelet counts of 50 to 100 × 109/L with ruxolitinib is safe.