Long-term effects of ruxolitinib versus best available therapy on bone marrow fibrosis in patients with myelofibrosis

Hans Michael Kvasnicka, Jürgen Thiele, Carlos E. Bueso-Ramos, William Sun, Jorge Cortes, Hagop M. Kantarjian, Srdan Verstovsek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background: Myelofibrosis (MF) is a life-shortening complication of myeloproliferative neoplasms associated with ineffective hematopoiesis, splenomegaly, and progressive bone marrow (BM) fibrosis. The oral Janus kinase (JAK) 1/JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib has been shown to improve splenomegaly, symptom burden, and overall survival in patients with intermediate-2 or high-risk MF compared with placebo or best available therapy (BAT). Methods: The effects of ruxolitinib therapy for up to 66 months on BM morphology in 68 patients with advanced MF with variable BM fibrosis grade were compared with those in 192 matching patients treated with BAT. Available trephine biopsies underwent independent, blinded review by three hematopathologists for consensus-based adjudication of grades for reticulin fibrosis, collagen deposition, and osteosclerosis. Results: Ruxolitinib treatment versus BAT was associated with greater odds of BM fibrosis improvement or stabilization and decreased odds of BM fibrosis worsening based on changes from baseline in reticulin fibrosis grade. Generally, these changes were accompanied by a sustained higher level of individual spleen size reduction and regression of leukoerythroblastosis. Patients with more advanced baseline fibrosis showed lower spleen size response. Conclusions: The finding that long-term ruxolitinib therapy may reverse or markedly delay BM fibrosis progression in advanced MF suggests that sustained JAK inhibition may be disease-modifying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number42
JournalJournal of Hematology and Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow fibrosis
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Ruxolitinib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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