Intron A is a well established treatment for essential thrombocythemia (ET) and P. Vera, especially effective for control of pruritis. Interferon-(IFN) suppresses growth of multipotent hematopoietic progenitor cells. No leukemogenic risk has been reported. No randomized trials have been published. In the Italian guidelines for treatment of ET 15 studies have been summarized, including 292 patients. Complete normalization of platelet counts was achieved in 54% of the patients.
Pegasys is a form of pegulated interferonPegylated IFN given weekly has been shown to have equal efficacy as IFN given trice weekly. The most recent guideline (Nordic MPD Study Group) recommendation is: ” Recommendation: IFN-α is theoretically superior for treating PV as it is effective in controlling proliferation of all cell lineages and there is no risk of leukemogenesis. Molecular remissions can be
acheived with IFN. It is most likely to be tolerated in patients below 60 years for whom it is
recommended. Pegylated forms of IFN seem equally effective as conventional IFN.
Grade B recommendation, evidence level III.
In summary, recent data suggest that pegylated INF alfa-2a (Pegasys; Hoffman-La Roche, Inc, Nutley, NJ) is likely to be as effective as IFN.
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