This variant was found in a large number of cases of myeloproliferative disorders: 71 of 73 patients with polycythaemia vera (97%), 29 of 51 with essential thombocythaemia (57%), and 8 of 16 with idiopathic myelofibrosis (50%). The mutation was detected in granulocytes, which are descended from a myeloid precursor. In 30 cases T-cells (instead descending from a lymphoid precursor) were tested and found not to carry the mutation, indicating this variant is always, or almost always, an acquired mutation and not inherited.
The mutation was not detected in 90 control samples (from a population with type I diabetes).
A variety of patients with myeloproliferative disorders were profiled, sorted by self-reported disease status. Out of 164 genotyped individual with polycythaemia vera 84% carried the variant — 26 did not have the mutation, 80 were heterozygous, and 41 homozygous (presumably due to loss of heterozygosity). Of 115 genotyped with essential thrombocythemia 32% carried the variant — 78 did not have the mutation, 34 were heterozygous, and 3 were homozygous. Of 46 with myeloid metaplasia with myelofibrosis 35% carried the variant — 30 did not have the mutation, 12 were heterozygous, and 4 were homozygous.
In addition, the study genotyped this position in 269 samples from a panel collected by the International HapMap Consortium, all were homozygous for the wild-type variant. However, many of these were trios, only 420 of the 540 chromosomes tested were independent (120 from Utah NW European, 120 from Nigeria Yoruban, 90 from Han Chinese, 90 from Japanese) — assuming the one failed test accounts for a single individual, this represents 418 unrelated chromosomes found to carry the wild-type variant (equivalent to 209 individuals).
Of 128 patients with polycythemia vera 65% carried the variant — 48 were heterozygous for the variant, and 35 were homozygous for it. Of 93 patients with essential thrombopenia 23% carried the variant — 18 were heterozygous for it, 3 homozygous. Of 23 patients with idiopathic myelofibrosis 57% carried the variant — 8 were heterozygous for it, 3 homozygous.
Of 71 healthy controls, none had this variant. This was also true for 9 patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia and 11 with secondary erythrocytosis.
Notably, the numbers reported here differ dramatically from those reported by Baxter et al. (71/2 carrier/non-carrier in Baxter et al. vs. 83/45 here, for PV cases). This may reflect differences in methods for disease diagnosis.
This study also studies the incidence of the JAK2 V617F variant in patients with myeloproliferative disorders. Of 160 healthy controls tested, none carried the variant. The variant was also not seen in 28 cases of systemic mastocytosis, 35 cases of chronic or acute myeloid leukemia, and 4 cases of secondary erythrocytosis.
Of 72 polycythemia vera patients, 58 (81%) had this variant and 24 of these were homozygous. Of 59 essential thrombopenia patients, 24 (41%) had the variant and 4 of these were homozygous. Of 35 idiopathic myelofibrosis patients, 15 (43%) had this variant and 10 were homozygous.
The authors also explored presence of this variant in rarer myeloproliferative disorder subtypes. Of 134 patients with idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome, 2 (1.5%) had the variant, both were homozygous. In addition, they examined related diseases which have some overlap: atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (aCML) and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) (both combined in a group as “CML-like MPDs”) and atypical, unclassified cases of myeloproliferative disorder (unclassified MPD). Of 99 cases of CML-like MPDs, 17 (17%) carried the variant, 8 of which were homozygous. Of 53 cases of unclassified MPD, 13 (25%) carried the variant, 7 of which were homozygous.
Using an allele-specific PCR method as a highly sensitive assay for presence of this variant (as low as 0.25% — similar to what was done by Lauw et al.), these authors report 37 samples from a total of 3935 (~1%) test positive for the mutation. Only one of these had blood test results consistent with polycythemia vera. On average the samples did have higher white blood cell and platelet counts; the authors conclude that the mutation may be a prelude to myeloproliferative disease but does not by itself diagnose it.
Of 10,507 participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study, 18 were found to have this variant. (The authors describe using the assay technique described by Baxter et al., which implies only an examination of sequencing traces — much less sensitive than some other detection techniques used e.g. by Lauw et al.) For overall survival of these individuals in the 17.6 years of follow-up, all 18 of these mutation carriers died. For comparison, an age-matched subset of 540 had only 348 die during this interval (64%) — this different was highly significance (p=0.00003).
Of these 18, 11 had no cancer at the time of blood sampling. 7 of these (63%) later developed some sort of cancer in the subsequent time period, compared to 129 out of 473 in the age-matched population (27%) — p=0.0001 for a difference.
Of the 18, 15 were known to have no myeloproliferative or other hemotologic cancer at the time of blood sampling. Two of these went on to develop myeloproliferative cancer (p=7*10^-22) and, in total, four went on to develop some type of hemotologic cancer (including the two with MPD), a significance of p=2*10^-32.
The authors conclude, “These results document that, in some cases, presence of the mutation precedes the clinical diagnosis of myeloproliferative cancer.” The authors also note that it is possible others of the 18 individuals had myeloproliferative disorders that had been undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, as they were not being studied with the specific intent of collecting data regarding myeloproliferative cancer.