We have evaluated the arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism in patients with myeloproliferative disorders (MPD). In essential thrombocythemia (ET), the generation of thromboxane B2 was found significantly reduced and inversely correlated with platelet count. Polycythemia vera (PV) patients showed an increased formation of this metabolite of AA. Prostaglandin E2 and 6-keto-PGF1 alpha generation were markedly reduced in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Our study confirms that the arachidonate metabolism is frequently deranged in patients with MPD. The opposite changes in thromboxane formation in ET and PV could be one of the factors responsible for the different incidences of thrombotic and hemorrhagic complications in these diseases.