Essential Thrombocythemia in Children: A Retrospective Study

Muhammed Ameen, Khawar Siddiqui, Saadiya Khan, Mahasen Saleh, Abdullah Al-Jefri, Abdulrahman Al-Musa


Background: Essential thrombocythemia (ET) is one of the classic Philadelphia chromosome negative (Ph-) myeloproliferative neoplasms characterized by sustained thrombocytosis, increased megakaryopoiesis and high risk of vascular complications. ET is very rare in childhood. The annual incidence is approximately 1 per 10,000,000 in children less than 14 years, and about 60 times lower than adults. The genetic landscape and clonal features in childhood ET has not been well defined. There is no evidence-based guidance on the diagnosis of childhood ET.

Methods: Medical records of 28 pediatric patients (age <=
14 years at diagnosis) with ET were reviewed and evaluated to characterize the different mutation profiles and to evaluate the treatment modalities used and the potential long-term outcome.

Results: More than half of the patients were found to have positive history of parental consanguinity (57.1%) whereas positive family history was documented for more than a quarter of our patients (28.6%). Janus kinase 2 gene (JAK2) V617F mutation was positive in two of 26 patients (7.7%). Myeloproliferative leukemia virus oncogene (MPL) exon 10 and calreticulin (CALR) mutations were tested in eight patients, which were negative for all of them. Treatment included low-dose aspirin (LDA) in seven patients (50%), combination of LDA with hydroxyurea in three patients (21.4%), hydroxyurea in two patients (14.3%), combination of platelets apheresis with LDA and anagrelide in one patient each (7.1%). During the treatment, two patients experienced stroke (7.1%), one patient developed Budd-Chiari syndrome (3.6%) and one patient developed azoospermia (3.6%).

Conclusions: The incidence of ET in children is extremely low in Saudi Arabia. Most of the children with ET were asymptomatic, and thrombocytosis was often discovered incidentally. JAK2 V617F mutation has no known impact on the prognosis or on the outcome of the disease in the pediatric age group that is in contrast to the adult ET. Children less than 1 year are at high risk for complications particularly during acute precipitating infectious episode. The potential complications and clinical course of pediatric ET are unpredictable.

J Hematol. 2021;10(3):106-113


Essential thrombocythemia; Pediatric ET; JAK2 mutation

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