A pilot study of rhuIL-11 treatment of refractory ITP
Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
The objective of this research was to determine whether rhuIL-11 is an effective treatment in patients with refractory immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Platelet production is decreased in certain cases of refractory ITP. IL-11 stimulates megakaryocytopoiesis in vitro and was licensed for its clinical effects to ameliorate chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. A pilot study was initiated, intending to enroll 12 patients with ITP. These patients were to receive rhuIL-11 (Neumega) at a dose of 50 microg/kg subcutaneously daily for 21 consecutive days and be observed afterward for 21 additional days. CBC with platelets were obtained twice weekly with visits and physical examinations weekly. The study was terminated after 7 patients were enrolled because of toxicity and lack of efficacy. All 7 patients had had ITP for >9 years and had failed splenectomy, intravenous gammaglobulin, corticosteroids, and a variety of other treatments. The patients at entry all had platelet counts <20,000/microl; 5 of 7 had counts <10,000/microl. The maximal median increase for any day of the study was 6,000/microl. No patient achieved a count of 30,000/microl, and only 3 patients achieved (once each) a platelet count >20,000/microl. Substantial toxicity was seen. The nadir hemoglobin decrease was a mean of 2 g/dl. rhuIL-11 was not effective at increasing the platelet count in any of these patients with refractory ITP. Toxicity was substantial. The lack of platelet response to rhuIL-11 in this study does not exclude the possibility of better effects at other doses and/or in less refractory patients.