Abstract

The thrombocytopenia in ITP is predominantly caused by autoantibodies that recognize antigens on platelets and megakaryocytes resulting in accelerated platelet destruction and a decreased platelet production rate (PPR). ITP patients with a predominantly suppressed PPR might respond differently to therapy than patients with predominantly peripheral platelet destruction. Tests and/or patient characteristics that can make a distinction between a reduced platelet half life and a reduced PPR could therefore influence diagnostic and therapeutic strategy in ITP. Therefore, in the present study the predictive value of clinical and platelet kinetic parameter for treatment outcome in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) was investigated. Seventy-five patients with severe ITP (platelets ≤20 × 109/L) were studied. Median age was 46 (range 16–89) years and 34 (45%) patients were males. Median platelet count was 8 (1–20) × 109/L. The mean platelet life was 1 (0.1–6.5) days, and the PPR 160 (2–4670) × 109/day (normal 223 (100–355) × 109/day, p = 0.7). PPR was decreased (<100 × 109/day), normal (100–355 × 109/day) and increased (>355 × 109/day) in 33%, 48%, and 19% of the patients, respectively. All patients started with prednisone at diagnosis (1 mg/kg/day). Initial complete and partial response (CR/PR) was 84% and a durable CR/PR (defined as CR/PR for ≥6 months without treatment) was attained in 44% of the patients. Apart from a higher proportion of patients with a decreased PPR in the group that responded to prednisone therapy (p=0.03), there were no significant differences regarding clinical and platelet kinetic parameters between responders and nonresponders. A durable CR/PR was noticed in 64% of the patients with a decreased PPR (median follow-up of 81 months (18–92)), compared to 34% of the patients with normal or increased PPR (median follow-up 141 (10–284) months (HR: 0.47 [95% CI (0.24–0.92)], p = 0.03). Splenectomy was performed in 32% of the patients with decreased PPR and in 62% of patients with normal or increased PPR (p = 0.03). In addition, patients with a decreased PPR showed significantly less splenic sequestration and a significantly longer mean platelet life than patients with a normal or increased PPR, which underscores that in these patients peripheral destruction of platelets contributes relatively less to thrombocytopenia than suppressed platelet production. Thirty-nine of 42 nonresponders to prednisone underwent splenectomy. Durable CR/PR postsplenectomy was reached in 74%. There were no significant differences with regard to patient characteristics between responders and nonresponders to splenectomy. In conclusion, ITP patients with suppressed PPR have a significant higher durable CR/PR rate to prednisone therapy and are less frequently exposed to splenectomy, than those with a normal or increased PPR.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.