Researchers used a representative sample of PV patients who were diagnosed from 2007 – 2013 from the SEER-Medicare database, to study the current recommended guidelines for the treatment of polycythemia vera patients. The SSER-Medicare database was developed by the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and have been shown to be nationally representative, and account for ∼28% of the US population.
The overall survival and occurrence of thrombotic events were assessed in the 820-patient cohort, along with the method or combination of methods that were used to treat the patients. For example, was the patient undergoing phlebotomies and taking Hydroxyurea, were their symptoms being managed with phlebotomies only, neither phlebotomies or Hydroxyurea or only Hydroxyurea.
According to the article, the conclusion of the study was as follows, “In this population-based cohort study reflecting contemporary clinical practice, we observed improved overall survival and decreased risk of thrombosis in older PV patients treated with phlebotomy and HU. However, both treatment modalities were underused in this population of 820 older patients, as only 64.0% underwent therapeutic phlebotomy, and 60.6% received HU. These findings suggest that patients in our study cohort were undertreated according to ELN and NCCN guidelines.”