A number of chromosomal aberrations, occurring in polycythemia vera patients are presented, with an emphasis on their nonspecific nature. Among radiophosphorus-treated patients the frequency of these aberrations was moderately higher. The one finding typical to P32 treated patients was the presence of dicentric chromosomes, and a dose response curve to the last P32 dose was demonstrated. A Philadelphia-like chromosome was observed in two patients with polycythemia vera and in one with benign erythrocytosis, all post P32 therapy.
A question is raised whether it is possible that the future course of the polycythemic patient is dependent upon the type and location of chromosomal damage, and in turn, on the establishment of a clone of cells with a selective developmental advantage.