Treatment of Hemophilia A patients with inhibitors is challenging, as correlation between inhibitor level and hemostatic response to therapy may be limited. Thrombin generation (TG) assays may be used to monitor hemostasis and/or predict patients' response to various bypass agents. Since combination of excess FVIII and bypassing agents may potentiate improved TG in inhibitor plasma tested in-vitro, we aimed to define the therapeutic feasibility of co-administration of rFVIIa and FVIII in hemophilia A patients with inhibitors.
Following consent, blood was sampled from 15 hemophilia patients (age: 0.5–46y) with inhibitor (0.5–668 BU). Platelet poor plasma (PPP) was prepared, spiked and incubated with excess FVIII. Ex-vivo kinetics of FVIII neutralization over time was evaluated by sequential measurements of residual FVIII activity. We then used recalcification induced-TG (performed in PPP supplemented with 4μM phospholipids), to measure the ex-vivo response to increasing concentrations of FVIII (0–200%) and rFVIIa (0–6.8μg/ml), alone or in combination. Based upon these ex-vivo studies, an individually tailored therapeutic regimen of concomitant bolus doses of rFVIIa and FVIII was applied to nine hemophilia patients with inhibitors.
FVIII ex- vivo measurements post incubation detected either rapid or slow neutralization- not correlating with inhibitor level. Flat baseline TG curves were recorded for all inhibitor patients, with variable responses to FVIII and/or rFVIIa. Combined spiking with FVIII and rFVIIa dramatically increased rFVIIa induced ETP (762.7 ±305.7 as compared to 339.3±179.9 nM/min with rFVIIa only) and peak height (48.7±23.6 vs 23.7±16.6) in all patients' plasma samples. Based upon individual ex vivo assays, concomitant bolus doses of rFVIIa (120–200 mcg/kg) and FVIII (50–100 U/Kg), were applied to 9 patients, for a total of 333 episodes during study period (February 2010-Septemeber 2012). Patients during immune tolerance received rFVIIa prophylaxis with combined rFVIIa/FVIII dosing applied 3 times weekly. For most mild- moderate joint bleeds hemostasis was defined as satisfactory following a single combined dose. Severe bleeding episodes or target joint bleeds responded to 2–8 (median:3) combined doses, applied every 12 hours. During study period the median number of spontaneous joint bleeds decreased from 4 to 1 per month. Neither thrombosis nor any other complications evolved.
Prediction of individual therapy response may be achieved by pre-analytical studies, assessing FVIII neutralization kinetics as well as ex-vivo TG responses to combined bypass/FVIII therapy. Such studies enabled treatment of inhibitor patients according to individually tailored regimens. We confirmed for the first time that the in- vitro advantage of combining FVIII and rFVIIa, indeed accounts for improved hemostasis and may safely be applied to inhibitor patients.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.