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In July 1985, a 43-year-old man was found to have polycythaemia vera. The peripheral blood counts were white cell count 14.15×109/l (neutrophils 80%, lymphocytes 14%, monocytes 5%, eosinophils 1%), haemoglobin concentration 24.8 g/dl, haematocrit 0.7, red cell count 8.15×1012/l (neither anisocytosis nor poikilocytosis nor tear-drop poikilocytosis were observed), platelets 234×109/l. As only the erythroid lineage was affected significantly, he was treated with isovolaemic phlebotomy until April 2004. In May 2004, the patient suddenly developed a spastic paraplegia. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging showed a posterior extradural tumour extending from T3 to T11 …
Funding: This work was supported in part by COFIN 2002–2003 (MB), AIRC, AIL Bologna, Ateneo 60% (MB and SAP), and Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna grants. PPP was supported by Italian–American Cancer Foundation and AIRC (Leonino Fontana e Maria Lionello fellowship).
Competing interests: None declared.
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