High rate of sustained response after TPO-RA discontinuation in patients with persistent or chronic ITP achieving initial CR on treatment.
Increased expression of CD69 on CD8+ T cells at the time of tapering TPO-RA could predict relapses.
Sustained response off treatment (SROT) after thrombopoietin receptor agonist (TPO-RA) discontinuation has been reported in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). This prospective multicenter interventional study enrolled adults with persistent or chronic primary ITP and complete response (CR) on TPO-RAs. The primary end point was the proportion of patients achieving SROT (platelet count >30 × 109/L and no bleeding) at week 24 (W24) with no other ITP-specific medications. Secondary end points included the proportion of sustained CR off-treatment (SCROT, platelet count >100 × 109/L and no bleeding) and SROT at W52, bleeding events, and pattern of response to a new course of TPO-RAs. We included 48 patients with a median age of 58.5 years; 30 of 48 had chronic ITP at TPO-RA initiation. In the intention-to-treat analysis, 27 of 48 achieved SROT, 15 of 48 achieved SCROT at W24; 25 of 48 achieved SROT, and 14 of 48 achieved SCROT at W52. No severe bleeding episode occurred in patients who relapsed. Among patients rechallenged with TPO-RA, 11 of 12 achieved CR. We found no significant clinical predictors of SROT at W24. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed enrichment of a tumor necrosis factor α signaling via NF-κB signature in CD8+ T cells of patients with no sustained response after TPO-RA discontinuation, which was further confirmed by a significant overexpression of CD69 on CD8+ T cells at baseline in these patients as compared with those achieving SCROT/SROT. Our results strongly support a strategy based on progressive tapering and discontinuation of TPO-RAs for patients with chronic ITP who achieved a stable CR on treatment. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT03119974.