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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Impact of Myeloproliferative neoplasms on patients’ employment status and work productivity in the United States: results from the living with MPNs survey

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jingbo Yu, Shreekant Parasuraman, Dilan Paranagama, Andrew Bai, Ahmad Naim, David Dubinski, Ruben Mesa
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12885-018-4322-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Patients with the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) myelofibrosis (MF), polycythemia vera (PV), and essential thrombocythemia (ET) are at increased risk for thrombotic and cardiovascular events and experience a variety of burdensome symptoms. However, there is a paucity of data in the biomedical literature about how MPNs impact productivity in the workplace. This analysis of the Living with MPNs survey was conducted to evaluate the impact of MPNs on employment, career potential, and work productivity.


This cross-sectional online survey included respondents aged 18–70 years living in the United States with a diagnosis of MF, PV, or ET. The survey consisted of ~ 100 questions related to MPN diagnosis, disease-related medical history, MPN-related symptoms and functional status, changes in employment and work productivity, and impact on daily activities since diagnosis. The MPN Symptom Assessment Form Total Symptom Score (MPN-SAF TSS) was used to assess symptom burden. The Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Specific Health Problem questionnaire (WPAI-SHP) was used to assess the effects of MPNs on work productivity and activity (7-day recall) among currently employed respondents. Correlations between MPN-SAF TSS and WPAI-SHP scores were calculated using Spearman’s coefficients.


Of 904 respondents, 592 were employed (MF, n = 174; PV, n = 248; ET, n = 170) at the time of their MPN diagnosis. Approximately half (50.5%) of the 592 employed survey respondents reported ≥1 change in employment status because of their diagnosis, most commonly “left a job” (30.2%) “went on medical disability leave” (24.8%), and “had reductions in work hours for at least 3 months” (21.8%). Among respondents who remained employed at the time of survey participation (n = 398), mean WPAI-SHP scores were as follows: absenteeism, 6.9%; presenteeism, 27.4%; overall work impairment, 31.1%; and activity impairment, 32.8%. WPAI-SHP scores positively correlated with MPN-SAF TSS (correlation coefficients, 0.37–0.70; P < 0.001).


Half of the employed respondents had an employment status change (eg, leaving a job, medical disability leave, early retirement) because of their disease since the diagnosis. Currently employed respondents reported meaningful impairments in work productivity and activities of daily living that were attributable to their MPNs, and the degree of impairments highlighted the severity of symptom burden.
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