Key Points

  • Eculizumab is an effective therapeutic strategy for HSCT recipients with high risk TA-TMA with improved 1y post-HSCT survival.

  • Subjects with a higher sC5b-9 level at the start of eculizumab therapy were less likely to respond to treatment and needed more drug doses.

Overactivated complement is a high-risk feature in HSCT recipients with transplant associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TA-TMA), and untreated patients have dismal outcomes. We present our experience of 64 pediatric HSCT recipients with high risk TA-TMA and multi-organ injury treated with the complement blocker eculizumab. We demonstrate significant improvement in 1y post-HSCT survival to 66% in treated patients from our previously reported untreated cohort with same high-risk TA-TMA features that had 1y post-HSCT survival of 16.7%. Responding patients benefited from a brief but intensive eculizumab therapy course using PK/PD guided dosing, requiring a median of 11 doses of eculizumab (IQR 7-20). Therapy was discontinued due to resolution of TA-TMA at a median of 66 days (IQR 41-110). Subjects with higher complement activation measured by elevated blood sC5b-9 at the start of therapy were less likely to respond to treatment (OR =0.15, p-value 0.0014), and required more doses of eculizumab [r = 0.43, p-value = 0.0004]. Patients with intestinal bleeding had the fastest eculizumab clearance, required the highest number of eculizumab doses (20 vs 9, p=0.0015), and had lower 1y survival (44% vs 78%, p=0.01). Over 70% of survivors had proteinuria on long term follow up. The best GFR recovery in survivors was a median 20% lower (IQR 7.3-40.3%) than their pre-HSCT GFR. In summary, complement blockade with eculizumab is an effective therapeutic strategy for high risk TA-TMA, but some patients with severe disease lack a complete response, prompting us to propose early intervention strategies and search for additional targetable endothelial injury pathways.

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