The formation of Factor VIII (FVIII) inhibitory antibodies is a major complication of hemophilia A. Currently immune tolerance induction (ITI) is successful in up to 70% of patients. Outside of the International Immune Tolerance Registry, where 6 of 128 patients had a recurrent inhibitor between 1 and 6 years, little is known about the probability of inhibitor recurrence following successful ITI.


To determine the probability of inhibitor recurrence and the influence of adherence to post-ITI prophylaxis on inhibitor recurrence following successful ITI.


All persons with hemophilia A (FVIII level < 50%) who completed ITI (defined as inhibitor titer <0.6 BU/ml) between 1/1/1998 and 8/15/2010 at 12 U.S. Hemophilia Treatment Centers were identified. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained through review of subject medical records and included age at start of ITI, race, ethnicity, hemophilia severity, peak inhibitor titer prior to the start of ITI and ITI regimen. For those subjects where tolerance was confirmed with measurement of FVIII half-life > 6 hours and/or FVIII recovery > 66% in addition to inhibitor titer < 0.6 BU/ml, information was also collected on post-ITI prophylaxis regimen, adherence to post-ITI prophylaxis, and the presence of a recurrent inhibitor titer (≥ 0.6 BU/ml) or last inhibitor titer prior to 8/15/2011. Adherence during the 6 months prior to inhibitor recurrence or last inhibitor titer was determined by review of pharmacy and infusion logs compared with prescribed treatment regimen. Follow-up time started when the subject was considered tolerized (normalized half-life or recovery if half-life not performed) and ended at the time of inhibitor recurrence or the last recorded inhibitor titer. Estimates of the probability of remaining inhibitor-free at 1, 3 and 5 years were calculated with the Kaplan-Meier method. The association between adherence (completing >80% of prescribed infusions vs. < 80% of prescribed infusions) and inhibitor recurrence was assessed using the chi-square test.


Eighty-three male subjects were enrolled. The median age at start of ITI was 3.3 years (range: 0.08 - 39). The majority of the subjects were white (73%) and non-Hispanic (73.5%). Seventy-one (85.6%) had severe hemophilia. The median peak inhibitor titer was 8.5 BU/ml (range: 0.6 - 950). Four subjects (5%) had a prior unsuccessful course of ITI. FVIII alone was used in 85% of subjects. Sixty-seven (80.7%) met criteria for tolerance and 64 had follow-up data available, with a median follow up time of 3.4 years (range: 0.08-12.4). Forty-four subjects (68.7%) remained tolerant without a recurrent inhibitor titer after a median 4.7 years (range: 0.25-12.4) of follow-up. Twenty subjects (31.3%) had at least one inhibitor titer ≥ 0.6 BU/ml after a median of 1.6 years (range 0.08-5.7). The probability of recurrent inhibitor at 1 year is 0.15 (95% CI: [0.05, 0.20]); at 3 years is 0.30 (95% CI: [0.2, 0.4]) and 5 years is 0.35 (95% CI: [0.2, 0.5]) (Figure 1). Four subjects discontinued post-ITI prophylaxis anywhere from 6 months to greater than 6 years after tolerance was achieved, of whom 2 (50%) developed a recurrent inhibitor. Of those that remained on post-ITI prophylaxis, 41 subjects (64.1%) were adherent (took >80% of prescribed infusions) to their post-ITI prophylaxis regimen, of whom 13 (31.7%) developed a recurrent inhibitor. Twenty-three (35.9%) who were non-adherent (took <80% of the prescribed infusions) of which 7 (30.4%) subjects developed a recurrent inhibitor; no statistically significant association was found between adherence and inhibitor-free status (p=0.92).


ITI is currently the most effective treatment to eradicate FVIII inhibitors, however 5 years after completion, 30-35% of patients will have at least one inhibitor titer ≥ 0.6 BU/ml. A recurrent inhibitor is unlikely after 5 years. Adherence to post-ITI prophylaxis does not appear to be a major driver of inhibitor recurrence. It is imperative to elucidate the factors that influence the durability of successful ITI to improve quality of life and cost of treatment in these patients.


Monahan:Baxter: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, travel support, travel support Other; Bayer: Honoraria, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees; Novo Nordisk: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Pfizer: Honoraria; Prolor Biotech: Research Funding; Asklepios: Consultancy, Research Funding, travel support Other. Manco-Johnson:Eisai: Research Funding; Novo Nordisk: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees; Biogen Idec: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees; Baxter BioScience: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees; CSL Behring: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Bayer HealthCare: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Carpenter:Novo Nordisk: Honoraria, Research Funding; Pfizer: Honoraria, Research Funding; CSL Behring: Honoraria, Research Funding; Grifols: Honoraria, Research Funding. Kruse-Jarres:Bayer HealthCare: Consultancy; Biogen IDEC: Consultancy; Grifols: Consultancy; Kedrion: Consultancy; Novo Nordisk: Consultancy; Baxter Healthcare: Consultancy. Ragni:Novo Nordisk: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; CSL Behring: Research Funding; Bayer: Research Funding; Baxter: Research Funding; Tacere Benitec: Consultancy; Smith Kline Glaxo: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Biogen Idec: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Pfizer: Research Funding. Kempton:Novo Nordisk: Research Funding; Baxter Healthcare: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.