Increased platelet destruction is central in the pathogenesis of immune thrombocytopenia. However, impaired platelet production is also relevant and its significance underlies the rationale for treatment with thrombopoietin receptor agonists (TPO-RAs). Previous studies have associated enhanced complement activation with increased disease severity. Additionally, treatment refractoriness has been demonstrated to resolve by the administration of complement-targeted therapeutics in a subset of patients. The association between complement activation and the platelet response to TPO-RA therapy has previously not been investigated. In this study, blood samples from patients with immune thrombocytopenia (n = 15) were prospectively collected before and two, six and 12 weeks after the initiation of TPO-RA therapy. Plasma levels of complement degradation product C4d and soluble terminal complement complexes were assessed. Patients with significantly elevated baseline levels of terminal complement complexes exhibited more often an inadequate platelet response (p = .04), were exclusively subjected to rescue therapy with intravenous immunoglobulin (p = .02), and did not respond with a significant platelet count increase during the study period. C4d showed a significant (p = .01) ability to distinguish samples with significant terminal complement activation, implying engagement of the classical complement pathway. In conclusion, elevated levels of complement biomarkers were associated with a worse TPO-RA treatment response. Larger studies are needed to confirm these results. Biomarkers of complement activation may prove valuable as a prognostic tool to predict which patients that potentially could benefit from complement-inhibiting therapy in the future.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic
- Receptors, Thrombopoietin/agonists
- Prospective Studies
- Complement Activation
- Recombinant Fusion Proteins