Facts about MPN

Confirming Your Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Diagnosis

To check your myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) diagnosis and find out the subtype, your physician will do a complete physical exam and ask about your health history and any symptoms. 

You may also need to have more blood tests, a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (where a small sample is taken and looked at with a microscope) or a cytogenetic analysis (tests for gene abnormalities).

Scoring MPN

For cancer, physicians usually use a system called staging to find out how early or advanced it is. For MPN, each type is identified in a different way to come up with a prognostic score. This score helps your physician predict which treatments are most likely to control your disease or put it into remission. 

Many things can affect the outlook for each patient, including their type of MPN, the percentage of blasts (abnormal blood stem cells) in their blood and bone marrow, and any chromosome abnormalities they may have.

Scoring Tests

To decide on the treatment plan for you and your specific case of MPN, your physician will probably recommend:

  • Blood tests — to check how many cells of each type are in your blood (complete blood count), how the cells look (peripheral blood smear) and if they have certain abnormalities (blood chemistry).
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy — using a needle to take small samples of your marrow. A pathologist looks at the samples with a microscope to look for and count abnormal cells. This gives us a firm diagnosis.
  • Cytogenetic analysis — tests of your marrow to look for chromosome abnormalities that help predict how your disease will progress and which types of treatment might be most effective.
  • Molecular testing — used to find mutations (changes) in the DNA of cancer cells. Some mutations are linked with a better or a worse outcome. Physicians use these test results to help plan your treatment.

Types of Treatment for MPN

Our MPN specialists work closely with you, your family and each other to get you back to health. At Fred Hutch, we provide all standard therapies for MPN and offer you access to the latest innovations through clinical trials.  

Learn About Subtypes

There are several types of chronic MPN, based on the cells that are affected. Fred Hutch physicians who specialize in MPN have a deep knowledge of these subtypes. They know which therapies to use and when to use them.

Essential Thrombocythemia (ET)

In essential thrombycythemia (ET), the bone marrow makes too many platelets. High numbers of platelets may lead to blood clots. This can cause serious health problems like a stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism.

Polycythemia Vera

In Polycythemia Vera (PV), there are too many red blood cells. The number of white blood cells and platelets may also go up. The high number of cells in the blood can cause bleeding problems and clots in blood vessels. Patients also have a higher risk of acute myeloid leukemia or primary myelofibrosis.

Primary or Secondary Myelofibrosis

This condition is when fibers and blasts (abnormal stem cells) build up in the bone marrow, causing scar tissue and inflammation. Myelofibrosis (MF) can happen on its own or because of polycythemia vera or essential thrombocythemia.

Chronic Eosinophilic Leukemia

In chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL), there are too many of the white blood cells called eosinophils (hypereosinophilia). Chronic eosinophilic leukemia may stay the same for many years, or it may move on quickly to acute leukemia.

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) happens when the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells, usually during or after middle age. Signs and symptoms of CML include weight loss and tiredness.

Learn more about CML

Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia

Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a type of myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative disease where too many myelomonocytes (a type of white blood cell) are in the bone marrow, crowding out normal blood cells.

Chronic Neutrophilic Leukemia

In chronic neutrophilic leukemia (CNL), there are too many of the white blood cells called neutrophils. A neutrophil is a white blood cell that is part of the body’s immune response. CNL is a clonal disorder where a group of identical cells are multiplying out of control. 


Also called mast cell disease, this condition is when there are too many mast cells. Mast cells are a type of immune system cell that is found in tissues, like skin and digestive organs.

MPN, unclassifiable

In MPN, unclassifiable (MPN-U), your disease has features of MPN and does not fit into any of the other subtypes. 

Fred Hutch has researched and treated MPN for decades.


There are many resources online for learning about your disease. Health educators at the Fred Hutch Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.

Whether you are newly diagnosed, going through treatment or know someone with cancer, our staff are available to tailor personalized resources and answer questions about support options in the community. 

Learning About MPN

There are many resources online for learning about your disease. We’ve compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.

AA-MDS International Foundation

Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation

The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation (AA&MDSIF) is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to support patients, families, and caregivers coping with Aplastic Anemia (AA), Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH), and related bone marrow failure diseases. 

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

The Society’s mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families by providing financial assistance, funding research, and publishing educational material. Read myeloproliferative neoplasms information from the Society.

MPN Research Foundation

MPN Research Foundation

The primary mission of the MPN Research Foundation is to stimulate original research in pursuit of new treatments—and eventually a cure—for myeloproliferative neoplasms. The group also provides information for patients and families about living with and treating these diseases.

Be The Match

National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) helps people who need a life-saving marrow or blood cell transplant by connecting patients, physicians, donors, and researchers to the resources they need.

National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute (NCI): Chronic Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Treatment

This is the Federal Government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. Read chronic myeloproliferative disorders information from NCI. 

National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute (NCI): Chronic Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

The NCI is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training. Here you can find more information about myeloproliferative neoplasms treatment, research and coping with cancer. 

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines for Patients: Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

This step-by-step guide to the latest advances in cancer care features questions to ask your physician, patient-friendly illustrations and glossaries of terms and acronyms.