Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs)

What are myeloproliferative neoplasms?

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are a rare, closely-related group of blood disorders in which the bone marrow overproduces red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. This results in an elevated count of one or multiple types of blood cells. “Myelo” means bone marrow, where the blood cells are made, while “proliferative” refers to the rapid production of cells, and “neoplasm” is an abnormal growth of cells. 

There are six types of MPNs, generally defined by the type of cell which is most affected: 

  • polycythemia vera — overproduction of red blood cells
  • essential thrombocythemia — overproduction of platelets
  • chronic myeloid leukemia — overproduction of all white blood cells
  • primary myelofibrosis — production of fibrous tissue in the bone marrow
  • chronic neutrophilic leukemia — overproduction of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell
  • chronic eosinophilic leukemia — overproduction of eosinophils, another type of white blood cell

Certain types of MPNs sometimes become acute leukemia, a blood cancer in which too many immature white blood cells are produced.

How we care for MPNs

Children and teens with MPNs are treated through the Blood Disorders Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, an integrated pediatric hematology and oncology partnership between Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital, a world leader in the treatment and research of all types of pediatric blood disorders, including MPNs.