One of the diagnostic criteria of essential thrombocythemia (ET) is the absence of the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph-neg). On the molecular level, Ph- neg ET patients may carry BCR-ABL transcript. The natural history of BCR-ABL positive Ph-neg ET patients is undetermined. We examined the BCR-ABL status by reverse transcriptase two-step nested polymerase chain reaction in bone marrow aspirates of 25 Ph-neg ET patients. We found 12 BCR-ABL positive and 13 BCR-ABL negative patients in the study group. The comparison showed that the two groups had similar clinical and laboratory characteristics, except for a significant increased patients' age and decreased polymorphonuclear cell count in the BCR-ABL positive group. During a median follow-up of 20 and 22.5 months for the BCR-ABL negative and positive groups, respectively, there was neither blastic transformation nor unrelated death in both groups. We conclude that it is important to look for BCR-ABL transcript in Ph-neg ET patients and to follow them closely to investigate the nature of this translocation in this group of patients.
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|Published - 1 Oct 1997