Table 4

WHO criteria for PV

WHO PV criteria
Major criteria
1. Hemoglobin >16.5 g/dL in men
Hemoglobin >16.0 g/dL in women
Hematocrit >49% in men
Hematocrit >48% in women
increased red cell mass (RCM)*
2. BM biopsy showing hypercellularity for age with trilineage growth (panmyelosis) including prominent erythroid, granulocytic, and megakaryocytic proliferation with pleomorphic, mature megakaryocytes (differences in size)
3. Presence of JAK2V617F or JAK2 exon 12 mutation
Minor criterion
 Subnormal serum erythropoietin level
Diagnosis of PV requires meeting either all 3 major criteria, or the first 2 major criteria and the minor criterion
  • * More than 25% above mean normal predicted value.

  • Criterion number 2 (BM biopsy) may not be required in cases with sustained absolute erythrocytosis: hemoglobin levels >18.5 g/dL in men (hematocrit, 55.5%) or >16.5 g/dL in women (hematocrit, 49.5%) if major criterion 3 and the minor criterion are present. However, initial myelofibrosis (present in up to 20% of patients) can only be detected by performing a BM biopsy; this finding may predict a more rapid progression to overt myelofibrosis (post-PV MF).