Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.


Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Polycythemia vera

Other Names for this Disease
  • Polycythemia rubra vera
  • Primary polycythemia
  • PRV
  • PV
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

I have polycythemia vera. Can this condition be passed on to my children?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is polycythemia vera inherited?

Most cases of polycythemia vera (PCV) are not inherited from a parent and are acquired during a person's lifetime. The condition is associated with genetic changes (mutations) that are somatic, which means they occur in cells of the body but not in egg and sperm cells.

In rare cases, the risk to develop PCV runs in families and sometimes appears to have an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. This means that only one altered copy of a gene in each cell is enough to give a person an increased risk for PCV. In other words, while an increased risk to develop PCV may be inherited, the condition itself is not inherited.[1]

Last updated: 3/17/2014