JAK2 is located on chromosome 9p24 and includes 25 exons encoding a protein of about 1132 amino acids. JAK2 is one of the four Janus family non-receptor protein tyrosine kinases. JAK2V617F is by far the most prevalent mutation in BCR-ABL1-negative Myeloproliferative neoplasms (occurs in ∼95% of patients with polycythemia vera, in ∼55% with essential thrombocythemia and in ∼65% with primary myelofibrosis) 1, 2. More than 80% of hemochromatosis patients are homozygous for a C282Y mutation in HFE gene, and a smaller proportion are compound heterozygous for both the C282Y mutation and an H63D mutation3. Here we present the first case of an elderly female with concomitant diagnosis of Polycythemia Vera (PV) and hemochromatosis. To our knowledge, there is no literature about the co-existence or associations of these diseases.

Case Reports:

75 year old female, former smoker with PMH of hemochromatosis and COPD with recent exacerbation, presented to the oncology clinic after hospital discharge for continuing care of her hemochromatosis requiring phlebotomy. She reports to have had multiple phlebotomies in the past fifteen years. Patient denied any history of liver disease, diabetes, arthralgia, skin pigmentation or sleep problems. Vital signs and examination were within normal limits. Her initial work up reported significantly elevated hemoglobin of 17.4gm/dl, hematocrit of 56.1%, RBC count of 6.98M/UL with MCV 80.4 fl, MCH 24.9 pg and platelet count of 673 K/UL. Peripheral smear showed normal red cell morphology and few giant platelets. Subsequently, further lab testing revealed ferritin of 25.7ng/ml. Her elevated hematocrit was further evaluated and erythropoietin was surprisingly <1mIU/ml. Genetic testing for HFE gene mutation screen was positive for homozygous C282Y mutation. Due to high suspicion for Polycythemia Vera, JAK2 mutation was also tested, which to our surprise, came back positive for JAK2 V617F point mutation. Patient is diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera and Hereditary Hemochromatosis and is recommended to start Aspirin, continue phlebotomy to maintain Hematocrit below 45% and take hydroxyurea for thrombocytosis.


It is interesting to note the co-existence of two un-related diseases. Franchini M et al analyzed 52 patients with PV for 12 HH gene mutations and found no significant association between the two conditions4. Hannuksela J et al studied C282Y and H63D mutations in 232 patients with hematological malignancies and reported no significant association5. Beaton and Adams in their review article about the myths and realities of hemochromatosis reports an elevated hemoglobin, in hemochromatosis's patient as a myth, based on their review of 634 C282Y homozygous patients at London health Science center, with mean hemoglobin of 145±13 g/L6. Our case re-iterates the importance of clinical suspicion of polycythemia Vera in a hemochromatosis patient with elevated hematocrit and undetectable erythropoietin. The coincidence is, phlebotomy is the treatment for both conditions as long as patient is fairly asymptomatic.


1. Ayalew Tefferi; Molecular drug targets in myeloproliferative neoplasms: mutant ABL1, JAK2, MPL, KIT, PDGFRA, PDGFRB and FGFR1; J Cell Mol Med. 2009 Feb; 13(2): 215-237.

2. Cross NC (2011); Genetic and epigenetic complexity in myeloproliferative neoplasms. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program 2011:208-214.

3. Feder JN, Gnirke A, Thomas W, et al. A novel MHC class I-like gene is mutated in patients with hereditary haemochromatosis. Nat Genet1996; 13:399-408.

4. Analysis of hemochromatosis gene mutations in 52 consecutive patients with polycythemia vera. Franchini M1, de Matteis G, Federici F, Solero P, Veneri D. Hematology. 2004 Oct-Dec;9(5-6):413-4.

5. Prevalence of HFE genotypes, C282Y and H63D, in patients with hematologic disorders. Hannuksela J, Savolainen ER, Koistinen P, Parkkila S. Haematologica. 2002 Feb;87(2):131-5.

6. The myths and realities of hemochromatosis Melanie D Beaton, Paul C Adams Can J Gastroenterol. 2007 February; 21(2): 101-104. PMCID: PMC2657669


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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