JAK2V617F, a gain-of-function mutation in the tyrosine kinase JAK2, is frequently detected in classical myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). In the present study, we determined the JAK2V617F allele burden in Japanese MPN patients using alternately binding probe competitive-polymerase chain reaction, a highly quantitative method recently developed by our group. Although we observed strong similarities in terms of epidemiological parameters associated with the JAK2V617F allele burden between our cohort and others, we found a higher JAK2V617F allele burden in Japanese polycythemia vera (PV) patients and lower frequencies of thrombosis in Japanese MPN patients compared with previous reports. In addition, despite the presence of high red blood cell counts, some patients bearing the JAK2V617F mutation were not diagnosed as PV, as their hemoglobin values were lower than the WHO PV criterion. In these patients, the JAK2V617F allele burden was strikingly similar to that in PV patients fulfilling the 2008 WHO criteria, suggesting that these patients can be classified as PV. Although isotopic measurement of red cell mass (RCM) is required for definitive diagnosis of PV, our data suggest that precise measurement of the JAK2V617F allele burden may improve the diagnosis of PV when RCM has not been determined.
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