Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria: Current Management, Unmet Needs, and Recommendations | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation (AAMDSIF) Return to top.

Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria: Current Management, Unmet Needs, and Recommendations

Journal Title: 
Journal of Blood Medicine
Primary Author: 
Oliver M
Oliver M, Patriquin CJ
Original Publication Date: 
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Bone Marrow Disease(s): 

Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is an ultra-rare, acquired clonal abnormality, which renders hematopoietic cells exquisitely sensitive to complement-mediated destruction. Classical features of PNH include intravascular hemolytic anemia, increased thrombotic risk, and manifestations related to end-organ damage (eg fatigue, chest pain, dyspnea, renal failure, and pulmonary hypertension). With supportive care alone, mortality rate of patients with PNH is approximately 35%. The anti-C5 monoclonal antibody, eculizumab, was the first targeted therapy approved for PNH, and led to improved hemoglobin, quality of life, reduced transfusion need, reduced thrombosis, and greater overall survival. More recently, therapeutics such as longer acting anti-C5 (ravulizumab) and anti-C3 (pegcetacoplan) medications have been approved, along with other novel therapeutics in late-stage clinical trials. Biosimilars of eculizumab are also now available. Proximal inhibitors (against C3, factor B, and factor D) have shown significant improvements in hemoglobin and transfusion-avoidance in patients who remain anemic despite C5 inhibition. Despite these novel therapies, some unmet challenges remain, including management of breakthrough hemolysis, clinically significant iatrogenic extravascular hemolysis, optimal management in pregnancy, and infection risk mitigation as new targets in the complement system are blocked. In addition, the use of self-administered subcutaneous and oral therapies raises concerns around treatment adherence and the risks of uncontrolled terminal complement. Given the ultra-rare nature of PNH, development is underway of a centralized international registry to capture and analyze the data as they mature for various new therapies and characterize the clinical challenges related to PNH management.