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Rawanda Shamoon
Ahmed K. Yassin
Sara L. Alnuaimi


ITP, rituximab, splenectomy, complete response, second-line therapy


Objective: Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an acquired immune-mediated disease that lacks an underlying etiology. Steroids are the main first-line treatment of ITP, while the second-line treatment consists primarily of splenectomy and rituximab. This study aimed to assess and compare the response to rituximab and splenectomy.

Methods: This retrospective comparative study reviewed ITP patients treated at a single private hematology clinic from 2007 to 2019. Seventy-four ITP patients were recruited, 27 were on rituximab, and 47 had undergone splenectomy. The initial platelet counts and bleeding symptoms were recorded, and initial and long-term responses to treatment were evaluated based on the American Society of Hematology guidelines.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 42.1 years with a male-to-female ratio of 1:1.8. The initial mean platelet count was comparable between the rituximab and splenectomy groups (p = 0.749). The initial complete response (CR) differed significantly between the rituximab and splenectomy groups (44.4% versus 83%, p = 0.002). The five-year response rate was significantly higher in the splenectomy than in the rituximab group (74% versus 52%, log-rank 0.038). Splenectomy was the only significant predictive factor for long-term response (OR = 0.193, p = 0.006).

Conclusion: The overall response revealed that splenectomy appeared superior to rituximab as a second-line treatment of ITP. Splenectomy was the only positive prognostic indicator of sustained response.


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