Other Names for this Disease
- Polycythemia rubra vera
Your QuestionI have polycythemia vera. Can this condition be passed on to my children?
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Most cases of polycythemia vera are not inherited. This condition is associated with genetic changes that are somatic, which means they are acquired during a person's lifetime and are present only in certain cells.
In rare instances, polycythemia vera has been found to run in families. In some of these families, the risk of developing polycythemia vera appears to have an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Autosomal dominant inheritance means that one copy of an altered gene in each cell is sufficient to increase the risk of developing polycythemia vera, although in these cases no causative genes have been identified. In some families that have a cluster of relatives with polycythemia vera, family members may have inherited a set of DNA variations called haplotype 46/1 that increased their risk to acquire a JAK2 mutation which leads to polycythemia vera. In other words, people in these families inherit an increased susceptibility to develop polycythemia vera, not the disease itself.
- Polycythemia vera. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). 2010; http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/polycythemia-vera. Accessed 9/21/2010.
- Vannucchi, Alessandro M. and Guglielmelli, Paola. Advances in Understanding and Management of Polycythemia Vera. Current Opinion in Oncology. 2010;