Studies comparing rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG) and horse ATG (hATG) in patients with aplastic anemia (AA) have shown conflicting results. These studies included fewer than 60 subjects in the rATG arm with relatively short follow-up. A total of 169 patients treated with rATG and 62 treated with hATG were included in this retrospective analysis, across 33 centers. Patients were treated with rATG or hATG plus cyclosporine A. Over half were classified, as having severe AA (SAA) or very severe AA (VSAA), and the mean follow-up was 45 months. There was no significant difference detected in cumulative response to treatment or survival between the rATG and hATG groups. The response to treatment was 63 % in the rATG group versus 66 % in the hATG group at 3 months. By 12 months, this pattern had reversed, and 84 % of rATG patients had responded to treatment versus 76 % in the hATG group (n.s.). Early mortality due to infection tended to be higher with rATG compared to hATG (n.s). rATG and hATG would seem to be therapeutically equivalent in SAA and VSAA. However, patients treated with rATG may take longer to respond than those treated with hATG and may also require more active prevention of early infections.
- aplastic anemia