What are MPNs?

What are Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs)?


Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are a group of diseases that affect how the bone marrowworks. MPNs are also known as myeloproliferative disorders (MPDs).1

Blood cells are made in the bone marrow from stem cells, and MPNs are diseases that affect the way these stem cells develop and reproduce.1

There are a number of different MPNs, but all result in the production of too many of one or more blood cell types.1

The main types of MPNs are:1

  • Essential thrombocythaemia (too many platelets)
  • Polycythaemia vera (too many red blood cells, and sometimes too many white blood cells and platelets)
  • Primary myelofibrosis (too many bone marrow stem cells – cells that develop into all the different cells)

It is common for people with MPNs to have few, if any, symptoms. However, if the disease is not adequately controlled then complications can occur, such as strokes and heart attacks.1 Effective treatment can reduce the risk of complications such as these. Therefore, if your doctor has prescribed you medication it is important to take it as advised, even if you don’t feel unwell.

If an MPN is suspected, blood tests will be carried out by a healthcare professional. These blood tests count the number of each type of cell in the blood.

1. Koopmans SM, van Marion AMW, Schouten HC. Myelproliferative neoplasia: a review of clinical criteria and treatment. The Journal of Medicine.2013;70:159-167.