The Effects of 2'-O-Methoxyethyl Containing Antisense Oligonucleotides on Platelets in Human Clinical Trials

Nucleic Acid Ther. 2017 Jun;27(3):121-129. doi: 10.1089/nat.2016.0650. Epub 2017 Feb 1.


A thorough analysis of clinical trial data in the Ionis integrated safety database (ISDB) was performed to determine if there is a class effect on platelet numbers and function in subjects treated with 2'-O-methoxyethyl (2'MOE)-modified antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). The Ionis ISDB includes over 2,600 human subjects treated with 16 different 2'MOE ASOs in placebo-controlled and open-label clinical trials over a range of doses up to 624 mg/week and treatment durations as long as 4.6 years. This analysis showed that there is no class generic effect on platelet numbers and no incidence of confirmed platelet levels below 50 K/μL in subjects treated with 2'MOE ASOs. Only 7 of 2,638 (0.3%) subjects treated with a 2'MOE ASO experienced a confirmed postbaseline (BSLN) platelet count between 100 and 50 K/μL. Three of sixteen 2'MOE ASOs had >10% incidence of platelet decreases >30% from BSLN, suggesting that certain sequences may associate with clinically insignificant platelet declines. Further to these results, we found no evidence that 2'MOE ASOs alter platelet function, as measured by the lack of clinically relevant bleeding in the presence or absence of other drugs that alter platelet function and/or number and by the results from trials conducted with the factor XI (FXI) ASO.

Keywords: antisense; factor XI; platelets; safety; thrombocytopenia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / adverse effects
  • Factor XI / analysis
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / administration & dosage
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / adverse effects*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / therapeutic use
  • Platelet Count
  • Thionucleotides / administration & dosage
  • Thionucleotides / adverse effects*
  • Thionucleotides / therapeutic use
  • Thrombocytopenia / blood
  • Thrombocytopenia / chemically induced
  • Thrombocytopenia / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Thionucleotides
  • Factor XI