Thromboses are a common complication in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and are reported to occur at a rate of 15- 20% at sea level. In the MPN-Thromboses spectrum which includes both arterial and venous thrombosis, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is noted to be the most common thrombotic event. JAK2 V617F is reported to be the most common driver mutation in MPNs and is associated with increased risk of thromboses. CALR and MPL are other mutations whose contribution to the thrombotic phenotype is not known. Chronic hypoxia from living in moderate or high altitude is reported to be an independent prothrombotic risk factor. The average elevation of New Mexico is 5,700 feet (1,740 meters) above sea level. The goal of this study is to evaluate the frequency of thromboses and prothrombotic risk factors in patients with MPN in patients in this distinct population.


We reviewed 134 patients, who were diagnosed with MPN in University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center between 2001 to 2019. A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify demographics, clinical and molecular risk factors for both arterial and venous thromboses. The mutation analyses for Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2), myeloproliferative leukemia (MPL) gene and calreticulin (CALR) gene were performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Contingency table and logistic regression methods were applied to analyze and compare the distribution of the prothrombotic risk factors between the patients with and without thrombosis.


In this study, 62 patients (47%) were diagnosed with ET, 47 patients (35%) with PV, and 22 patients (17%) with primary myelofibrosis (PMF). Seventy-five patients (56%) were females. Mean age at diagnosis was 62 years. 102 patients (77%) were living in the Albuquerque metropolitan area with an average elevation of 5312 feet above sea level and others were in areas with an elevation of 6000 feet or higher in New Mexico. Forty-four patients (33%) experienced either arterial (29) or venous thromboses (11) or both (4). A significant percentage (70.4%) of thrombotic events were either ischemic stroke or myocardial infarction.

The patients with thromboses were predominantly males (21/36, 57%) while most patients without thromboses were females (56/90, 62%) with p=0.003. Twenty-one (53%) patients with thromboses had ET; however, a higher proportion of patients with PV (20/47, 42.5%) developed thromboses compared to ET or PMF (32.2% and 9% respectively). Also, a significant number of patients (32/44, 76%) with thromboses have JAK2 mutations while only 4 patients (9%) have CALR gene mutation. Although not statistically significant, CALR mutation was associated with lesser thrombotic events than other MPN patients.

In univariate logistic regression analysis, PV and ET were significantly associated with increased thrombotic events. Patients with PV showed a 7.7-fold increase and patients with ET have a 5.1-fold increase in odds for thrombosis compared to patients with PMF (p=0.0365). Female gender was associated with decreased thrombotic risk with an odds ratio of 0.46 (p=0.0387). There was no significant difference between patients with and without thromboses, regarding other clinical characteristics such as age, previous aspirin use, leukocytosis, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and smoking.


An increased frequency of thromboses was observed among patients with Ph negative MPN in New Mexico which is significantly higher than previously reported studies. This strongly suggests the role of mild to moderate hypoxia as a contributing prothrombotic risk factor for MPN. The role of chronic hypoxia and its influence in thrombotic events in MPN need to be further evaluated in prospective studies. The decreased risk of thrombosis in females and patients harboring CALR mutations compared to other common mutations was consistent with other published studies. JAK2 mutation was not associated with an increased risk of thrombosis. Other genetic factors in this population were not evaluated in this study.


Arana Yi:Jazz Pharmaceuticals: Other: Advisory Board.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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