Ready to contact us for a consultation about your condition and our medical services? The staff of our Global Patient Services is ready to help. Please select the appropriate button to get started.
Myelofibrosis (MF)

Myelofibrosis Overview

The medical team at the Hemato-Oncology Division of Sheba Medical Center in Israel comprises experienced, leading doctors from a wide variety of disciplines. Our physicians have trained at premier medical facilities worldwide, and we bring our unique frontline expertise to custom-designing cancer therapies for every patient. Working together, we offer the latest, cutting-edge treatments for people with myelofibrosis (MF). At present, there is no cure for myelofibrosis, yet this rare bone marrow disease can be a very treatable form of leukemia.

If your Sheba doctors recommend performing a bone marrow/stem cell transplant, we can use our on-site molecular laboratory, in addition to an advanced HLA laboratory, to find a perfectly matched donor. Sheba is also a member of the National Marrow Donor Program and has access to their extensive data bank of stem cells, when necessary.

Sheba is committed to providing holistic, integrative healthcare. We pay attention to every individual’s physical and emotional needs in order to make personalized decisions and tailor our medical care. Patient comfort and overall well-being is a top priority. Our supportive, compassionate team is devoted to keeping the lines of communication open, so that you understand your treatment program and always know what to expect.

Myelofibrosis treatment

About Myelofibrosis

Myelofibrosis is a rare condition that can occur in both men and women, primarily in people at least 60 years old. While children and young adults may also develop myelofibrosis, it is extremely uncommon. Present statistics report about 1.5 cases diagnosed annually per every 100,000 people in the United States.

What is myelofibrosis?

MF originates in the bone marrow, where it causes fibrous scar tissue to replace the healthy, soft and spongy tissue that is normally inside your bones. These scars, called fibrosis, affect how many normal blood cells (such as red blood cells and white blood cells) your body can produce. Myelofibrosis is generally a slow growing cancer, and many people are able to live with it for years without detection. Yet sometimes MF grows more rapidly and requires prompt treatment.

A main characteristic of myelofibrosis is the overproduction of megakaryocytes, giant cells that normally release platelets in your body. The production of megakaryocytes is accompanied by the release of cytokines, proteins that typically make you feel sick. All of these cytokines lead to inflammation and more fibrosis in the bone marrow.

What are the risk factors for myelofibrosis?

The underlying cause of myelofibrosis remains unknown, although some risk factors have been associated with this disease, including:
  • Age: MF is most commonly diagnosed in people over 60
  • Environment: exposure to ionizing radiation and petrochemicals, such as benzene and toluene, may increase the risk of developing MF
  • JAK2 mutation: about 50% to 60% of people with myelofibrosis have a mutation in the JAK2 gene; this mutation instructs blood cells to multiply and divide even when the body doesn’t need more red blood cells
  • CALR mutation: approximately 35% of people with MF have a CALR (calreticulin) genetic mutation

What are the symptoms of myelofibrosis?

MF grows very slowly, which is why many people with this blood cancer don’t feel symptoms for years. Over time, as MF affects the way your body makes red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, the following symptoms usually present:

  • Anemia: a shortage of red blood cells; generally leads to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath
  • Frequent infections
  • Itching
  • Enlarged liver
  • Night sweats
  • Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly): causes discomfort or a feeling of fullness in the upper left part of the abdomen
  • Dilated veins in the stomach and esophagus: these veins may rupture and lead to bleeding
  • Extramedullary hematopoiesis: abnormal growth of blood-forming cells outside the bone marrow. These cells can form tumors that compress body organs or interfere with their function
  • Pale skin
  • Fever
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Portal hypertension: an increase in blood pressure in the vein that goes from the spleen to the liver
  • Unexplained blood clots

Are there different types of myelofibrosis?

MF is regarded as a rare form of chronic leukemia. When this disease occurs on its own, it is classified as primary myelofibrosis. If it occurs as the result of another disease of the bone marrow (such as essential thrombocythemia or polycythemia) it is classified as secondary myelofibrosis.

In about 12% of all primary myelofibrosis cases, the disease will progress to acute myeloid leukemia, which is generally a very aggressive form of cancer.

Request a consultation

Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone. We welcome all cases, including the rarest and the most challenging. Our medical teams collaborate to provide the best possible health outcomes. From your initial inquiry through the long-term follow-up care, we are here for you.

Request a consultation and a Sheba Case Manager will contact you shortly: