Rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG; thymoglobulin, Genzyme) in combination with cyclosporine, as first-line immunosuppressive therapy, was evaluated prospectively in a multicenter, European, phase 2 pilot study, in 35 patients with aplastic anemia. Results were compared with 105 age- and disease severity-matched patients from the European Blood and Marrow Transplant registry, treated with horse ATG (hATG; lymphoglobulin) and cyclosporine. The primary end point was response at 6 months. At 3 months, no patients had achieved a complete response to rATG. Partial response occurred in 11 (34%). At 6 months, complete response rate was 3% and partial response rate 37%. There were 10 deaths after rATG (28.5%) and 1 after subsequent HSCT. Infections were the main cause of death in 9 of 10 patients. The best response rate was 60% for rATG and 67% for hATG. For rATG, overall survival at 2 years was 68%, compared with 86% for hATG (P = .009). Transplant-free survival was 52% for rATG and 76% for hATG (P = .002). On multivariate analysis, rATG (hazard ratio = 3.9, P = .003) and age more than 37 years (hazard ratio = 4.7, P = .0008) were independent adverse risk factors for survival. This study was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00471848.
- aplastic anemia