Treatment of polycythemia vera with melphalan (Hebrew)

J. Horowitz, N. Mani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifteen patients with polycythemia vera were treated with melphalan. All had been treated previously with either P32, bisulphan, chlorambucil or repeated phlebotomy. The induction dose of melphalan was 2 to 4 mg/day, and the maintenance dose 2 to 6 mg/week. Response to therapy was noted within 3 to 10 weeks, sooner than with any other cytotoxic drug. All patients responded with a reduction in hematocrit and leukocyte and platelet counts to normal values. This was accompanied by disappearance of complaints such as pruritus, anginal pain, headache and dizziness in 11 patients. Mild thrombocytopenia (80 to 100,000/mm3) developed in 6 patients and leukopenia of 1700/mm3 in 1 but disappeared after stopping treatment temporarily. One patient previously treated with P32, bisulphan and chlorambucil, died of chronic myelogenous leukemia. The rapid clinical and hematological response and the minimal side effects encourage continued use of this therapy in form]) vera. However, the data reported here do not allow evaluation of possible long term carcinogenic effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-354+385
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1974
Externally publishedYes


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