To assess the response to antithymocyte globulin based immunosuppressive therapy (IST) in pediatric patients with idiopathic aplastic anemia.
Thirty patients (19 boys and 11 girls) with aplastic anemia received antithymocyte globulin and cyclosporine. Twenty-two patients had severe and 8 had very severe aplastic anemia.
Mean age of the patients was 9.19 ± 2.56 y. Three patients died within 1 mo of therapy, two due to sepsis and one due to intracranial hemorrhage. Twenty-seven patients were analyzed for response to therapy. Eight patients (29.7%) responded at 3 mo: 3 complete response (CR) and 5 partial response (PR). Six mo after the therapy, overall response (OR) was seen in 9/27 (33.3%), with one more patient in no response group achieving partial response. At 1 year, patients in CR maintained their status and 1 patient in PR group relapsed. He again achieved partial response with repeat course of ATG. Responders had significantly shorter duration of illness and higher absolute neutrophil count as compared to non responders to IST. None of the patients developed acute leukemia in the follow up.
The treatment of aplastic anemia in pediatric patients is a challenging task. One third of the patients achieved overall response which included both complete and partial response.
- aplastic anemia