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Interferon- 2b: A New Treatment for Polycythemia Vera

Richard T. Silver, MD
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From the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York. Requests for Reprints: Richard T. Silver, MD, Section of Clinical Oncology Chemotherapy Research, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, 525 East 68 Street, Box 581, New York, NY 10021. Acknowledgments: The author thanks Helen Zurawinsky, BS, for administrative assistance, Audrey Gutfriend, BS, RN, for patient care responsibilities, and Arthur Sawitsky, MD, and Ted P. Szatrowski, MD, PhD, for review of the manuscript. Grant Support: In part by grants from the United Leukemia Fund and Cancer Research and Treatment Fund, Inc. No funds for this study were requested or provided by Schering Corporation, the manufacturer of recombinant interferon- 2b (Intron-A). However, three patients have been supplied with Intron-A on a compassionate basis at my request.

Copyright 2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1993;119(11):1091-1092. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-119-11-199312010-00006
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Polycythemia vera is characterized by an increased red cell mass and thrombohemorrhagic complications. In general, treatment has consisted of phlebotomy to reduce the red cell mass. However, because treatment with phlebotomy only is associated with early, frequently fatal thrombosis or hemorrhage [1], myelosuppressive therapy is also used. Unfortunately, the agents used, chlorambucil and radioactive phosphorus, are leukemogenic [1].

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