Most studies in polycythemia vera (PV) include patients with both remote and most recent diagnostic periods and are therefore vulnerable to inaccurate interpretation of time-dependent data. We addressed the particular issue by analyzing presenting characteristics and outcome data among 1,545 patients with WHO-defined PV stratified by a diagnosis period of before or after 2005, which coincides with the first description of JAK2V617F as the molecular marker of PV. Patients diagnosed after 2005 displayed lower hemoglobin values (P<0.0001) and older age (P=0.007) at diagnosis; we suggest ease of diagnosis offered by a molecular marker enabled earlier diagnosis and broader application across older age groups that is further enhanced by recent trends in increased attention and health monitoring for the elderly. Post-2005 diagnosed patients were also more or less likely to receive aspirin and cytoreductive therapy, respectively, and, despite their older age distribution, displayed significantly lower risk of thrombosis in high risk disease. Regardless of the contributing factors to the latter phenomenon, our observations underscore the need to reassess current demographics and frequencies of thrombosis in clinical trial designs including thrombosis prevention in PV.
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