Efficacy of eculizumab in severe ADAMTS13-deficient thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) refractory to standard therapies

Transfus Apher Sci. 2018 Apr;57(2):247-249. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Mar 15.


Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a rare microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA) defined by mechanical hemolytic anemia, severe thrombocytopenia, and systemic visceral ischemia due to systemic platelet-rich microthrombi. Forty percent of patients with autoimmune TTP experience one or multiple relapses. Patients with refractory TTP are currently managed by corticosteroids, twice-daily PEX, and the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab. Herein, we report two cases of severe TTP, refractory to those standard agents. On the basis of the fact that in cases of severe TTP the classical complement pathway is activated, and that the alternative pathway is also involved, both patients underwent eculizumab (anti-C5 monoclonal antibody) therapy. We observed prompt hematological and organ system responses to the eculizumab and the recovery of plasma ADAMTS-13 activity in both cases. Moreover, the fact that both patients discontinued eculizumab, maintaining the response, emphasizes the possibility of its usefulness for limited treatment periods. In conclusion, the diagnostic and therapeutic algorithm in TTP appears complicated by increasing evidence of complement involvement and the eculizumab seems to be a potential agent for refractory patients.

Keywords: Eculizumab; Refractory; TTP.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • ADAMTS13 Protein / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / drug therapy*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • eculizumab
  • ADAMTS13 Protein
  • ADAMTS13 protein, human