Reemergence of Splenectomy for ITP Second-line Treatment?

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Corticosteroids are still the standard first-line treatment for immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). As second-line therapy, splenectomy and Rituximab are both recommended. The aim of our study was to compare the efficacy of Rituximab to splenectomy in persistent or chronic ITP patients.


Between January 1999 and March 2015, we retrospectively selected all consecutive patients who underwent an ITP second-line treatment: Rituximab or splenectomy. The distinction between open (OS) and laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) was analyzed. Primary outcome was composite: hospitalization for bleeding and/or thrombocytopenia and death from hemorrhage or infection. Secondary outcomes were based on response (R) and complete response (CR) rates as defined by the American Society of Hematology.


Ninety-six patients were included: 30 patients received Rituximab, 37 underwent OS, and 29 underwent LS. The follow-up was 30, 60, and 120 months in Rituximab, LS, and OS groups, respectively. At 30th month, the primary outcome-free survival rate was higher in splenectomy groups (84% for OS, 86% for LS) than Rituximab group (47%) (P = 0.0002). Similarly, at 30th month, R and CR rates were higher for OS (86.5% and 75.7%, respectively) and LS groups (93.1% and 89.7%) than Rituximab (46.7% and 30%) (P = 0.0001). Moreover, R rates remained elevated at 60th month for OS and LS groups (83.7% and 89.6% respectively) and 78.4% at 120th month for OS group.


We observed that splenectomy for ITP second-line treatment was more effective than Rituximab regarding maintenance of R, CR, and overall response rates. OS and LS had similar efficacy.

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