Second-line treatment trends and long-term outcomes of 392 children with chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura: the French experience over the past 25 years

Br J Haematol. 2020 Jun;189(5):931-942. doi: 10.1111/bjh.16448. Epub 2020 Mar 4.


Childhood chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (cITP) is a rare disease. In severe cases, there is no evidence for the optimal therapeutic strategy. Our aim was to describe the real-life management of non-selected children with cITP at diagnosis. Since 2004, patients less than 18 years old with cITP have been enrolled in the national prospective cohort, OBS'CEREVANCE. From 1990 to 2014, in 29 centres, 392 children were diagnosed with cITP. With a median follow-up of six years (2·0-25), 45% did not need second-line therapy, and 55% (n = 217) received one or more second lines, mainly splenectomy (n = 108), hydroxychloroquine (n = 61), rituximab (n = 61) or azathioprine (n = 40). The overall five-year further second-line treatment-free survival was 56% [95% CI 49·5-64.1]. The use of splenectomy significantly decreased over time. Hydroxychloroquine was administered to children with positive antinuclear antibodies, more frequently older and girls, and reached 55% efficacy. None of the patients died. Ten years after the initial diagnosis, 55% of the 56 followed children had achieved complete remission. Children with cITP do not need second-line treatments in 45% of cases. Basing the treatment decision on the pathophysiological pathways is challenging, as illustrated by ITP patients with positive antinuclear antibodies treated with hydroxychloroquine.

Keywords: children; immune thrombocytopenic purpura; immunosuppressive treatments; observational cohort; splenectomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / therapeutic use
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Observational Studies as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / drug therapy*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / epidemiology
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / surgery
  • Remission Induction
  • Salvage Therapy*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Splenectomy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Hydroxychloroquine