Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients with MPN Versus General Public

A study published in Cancers (Basel) assessed the health-related quality of life in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and found that fatigue and sexual problems were common and burdensome; however, those with MPN reported a slightly healthier lifestyle compared with the general population.

Researchers in Denmark conducted a nationwide, population-based, cross-sectional health-related quality of life survey in patients with MPN. Outcomes for patients with MPN were compared with the general public. 

Patients (n=3,656) with an MPN diagnosis between 1977 and March 31, 2013, were approached to complete a survey that contained validated questionnaires covering functioning, symptom burden, symptom profile, quality of life, and additional questions on lifestyle. A total of 2,228 patients with Philadelphia-negative MPN (61%; mean age, 71 years; 57% were female) completed the survey. Among this cohort, 814 had essential thrombocytopenia (ET), 910 had polycythemia vera (PV), 83 had myelofibrosis (MF), and 421 had unclassified MPN.

Health-related quality of life in patients with MPN was moderately impaired compared with the general population, but the difference was minor. Despite this, participants reported a slightly healthier lifestyle compared with the general population.

Symptom burden among MPN subgroups subtly differed. Participants with unclassified MPN had the highest total symptom burden relative to the classified MPN participants. Among participants with ET, PV, and unclassified MPN, fatigue had the highest prevalence compared with other symptoms. Sexual problems were reported with a relatively high mean score in all MPN subgroups. Among participants with MF, sexual problems had the highest prevalence compared with other symptoms. Patients with MF and unclassified MPN reported fatigue burden to be moderately higher than the general population, and patients with ET and PV reported slightly higher fatigue burden compared with the general population.

“Considering these findings, we suggest physical activity to be studied as a rehabilitation initiative for [patients with] MPN to hopefully improve physical functioning, reduce fatigue, and improve quality of life,” the researchers concluded. “Lifestyle changes in general seem appealing to [patients with] chronic cancer, and it may be considered relevant to support these in the hematological outpatient clinics in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications and comorbidities and to improve health-related quality of life.”