Outcome of Moderate Aplastic Anemia in Children

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Abstract

Purpose

In order to assist in the management of newly diagnosed children with moderate aplastic anemia (MAA) we reviewed the clinical course and outcome of children with MAA seen at our institution over the past 12 years and compared them with children with severe aplastic anemia (SAA).

Patients and Methods

MAA was defined as having a hypocellular bone marrow and cytopenia in at least two cell lines not in the severe range. Twelve children met these criteria. Twenty-eight children with SAA were seen during the same interval. Patients with MAA were treated with immunomodulation with antithymocte globulin and/or cyclosporine if they progressed to SAA.

Results

Five patients with MAA progressed to SAA at a median interval of 18 months from diagnosis. The other seven patients required no therapy or only received transfusions for ≤6 months after diagnosis. The survival of the patients with MAA was significantly better than that of patients with SAA treated with immunomodulation (p = 0.022). All patients with MAA are alive at a median follow up of 7 years and are transfusion independent; only one patient currently receives therapy. Residual hematologic abnormalities in children with MAA included thrombocy-topenia, leukopenia, and macrocytosis.

Conclusions

In this small series of children with MAA the outcome was excellent and significantly better than in patients with SAA; more than half recovered with minimal or no therapy. Patients who progressed to SAA responded well to treatment. A larger prospective study is needed to conclusively define the natural history of MAA.

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