Myeloproliferative Disease Workup

Updated: Aug 31, 2022
  • Author: Haleem J Rasool, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Laboratory Studies

Laboratory studies for the diagnosis of myeloproliferative disease include the following:

  • CBC counts and differential counts with microscopic examination of the peripheral smear (see example below)

    Photomicrograph of a peripheral smear of a patient Photomicrograph of a peripheral smear of a patient with agnogenic myeloid metaplasia (myelofibrosis) shows findings of leukoerythroblastosis, giant platelets, and few teardrop cells.
  • Leukocyte alkaline phosphatase (LAP) score (to differentiate chronic myelogenous leukemia [CML] from other causes of leukocytosis)

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) run on peripheral blood can detect bcr-abl gene rearrangement [22] ; this helps differentiate CML from other myeloproliferative diseases

  • Red blood cell mass study (to differentiate true from spurious polycythemia)

  • Serum uric acid level


Imaging Studies

Imaging studies are not routinely required. However, a liver-spleen scan may occasionally be helpful to assess the size of these organs in the diagnosis of difficult cases.



Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy with cytogenetic studies are required in most, but not all, patients. Cytogenetic studies detect presence or absence of the Philadelphia chromosome and help to differentiate these disorders from myelodysplastic syndrome. PCR testing on bone marrow for JAK2 is available for suspected cases of polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, or myelofibrosis.


Histologic Findings

Bone marrow histology shows hypercellularity in most myeloproliferative disorders. In the case of myelofibrosis, bone marrow fibrosis is demonstrated on the reticulin stain. Bone marrow fibrosis is also detected in the spent phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia and polycythemia vera.