The decision to select hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) or immunosuppressive therapy (IST) as initial therapy in acquired aplastic anemia (AA) is currently based on patient age and the availability of a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched donor. Although IST is a promising treatment option, the ability to predict its long-term outcomes remains poor due to refractoriness, relapses, and the risk of clonal evolution. Several predictive biomarkers for response to IST have been posited, including age, gender, pre-treatment blood cell counts, cytokines, gene mutations, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), and telomere length (TL). While previous studies have provided substantial biological insights into the utility of IST, the prognostic power of the reported biomarkers is currently insufficient to contribute to clinical decision making. Recently, a large retrospective analysis proposed the combination of minor PNH clones and TL as an efficient predictor of IST response. Identification of a reliable predictor would provide a useful tool for determining the most appropriate treatment choice for AA patients, including up-front HSCT from HLA-matched unrelated donor. The present review summarizes studies evaluating the utility of biomarkers in predicting the clinical response to IST of patients with AA, and provides a baseline for prospective studies aimed at validating previously reported biomarkers.
- aplastic anemia