Ruxolitinib treatment improves outcomes of patients with myelofibrosis (MF), found a new study published in the journal Cancer. This finding supports the use of the Janus kinase (JAK) treatment in this group of patients.

Various therapeutic agents are being used to treat MF. In the present study, a team of researchers, led by Srdan Verstovsek MD, PhD, from the Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas, conducted a retrospective study between 2000 and 2020 in 802 newly diagnosed patients with MF to evaluate the pattern of therapy and its possible impact on survival.

Read more about ruxolitinib

Of these 802 patients, the majority (61%) started MF-directed treatment during follow-up. This mostly consisted of ruxolitinib used by 44% of patients. Other treatments included experimental drugs that were not JAK inhibitors used by 21% of patients, immunomodulatory agents used by 18% of patients, other experimental JAK inhibitors used by 10% of patients, and other treatments used by 7% of patients. 

The researchers reported that overall survival was better among patients who were initially treated with ruxolitinib compared to others. In fact, the median overall survival of patients who received initial ruxolitinib therapy was 72 months compared to around 50 months with the other approaches, apart from the last group.

A total of 150 patients (32% of all patients) needed additional treatment. Patients who survived the longest from the start of second-line therapy were those who started salvage ruxolitinib treatment with a median survival time of 35 months.

“This study demonstrated improved outcomes of patients with MF who received treatment with the JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib,” the researchers wrote. 

MF is a rare disorder characterized by bone marrow fibrosis, extramedullary hematopoiesis, and an overactive JAK–signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway.

Ruxolitinib is a treatment for adult patients with intermediate- or high-risk MF.


Masarova L, Bose P, Pemmaraju N, et al. The role of therapy in the outcome of patients with myelofibrosis. Cancer. Published online May 27, 2023.