(32)P in the treatment of myeloproliferative disorders

Sarah Lawless, Mary Frances McMullin, Robert Cuthbert, Russell Houston

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(32)P has been available for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) for over seventy years. It was first used in 1938 by John H Lawrence in the treatment of polycythaemia and chronic leukaemias. With the introduction of agents such as hydroxycarbamide, interferon and anagrelide the role of (32)P has been diminished. Today, Polycythaemia Rubra Vera (PRV) and Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET) remain the only myeloproliferative conditions in which (32)P is indicated.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We carried out a retrospective review of all patients who had received 32P in Northern Ireland over a 24 year period. The time to successful response, duration of response, and associated complications were reviewed.

RESULTS: (32)P was successful in inducing remission in 90% of patients. This remission was sustained following one dose without the need for further therapy in 37% of cases. 47% required repeated doses. 26% required recommencement of alternative therapies. No cases of thrombosis, myelofibrosis or acute leukaemia were observed.

DISCUSSION: We conclude that (32)P is a well-tolerated and efficacious treatment option in the elderly. We discuss our results compared with previous work in this area. (32)P will continue to be offered to elderly patients in our practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-5
Number of pages3
JournalThe Ulster Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Journal Article


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