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Alterations in markers of coagulation and fibrinolysis in patients with Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria before and during treatment with eculizumab.

BACKGROUND: Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria is characterized by complement-mediated hemolysis and an increased thrombosis risk. Eculizumab, an antibody to complement factor C5, reduces thrombotic risk via unknown mechanisms. Clinical observations suggest that eculizumab has an immediate effect.

OBJECTIVES: A better understanding of the mechanism via which eculizumab reduces thrombotic risk by studying its pharmacodynamic effect on coagulation and fibrinolysis.

METHODS: We measured microparticles (MP), tissue factor (TF) activity, prothrombin fragment 1+2 (F1+2), D-dimer and simultaneously thrombin and plasmin generation in 55 PNH patients. In 20 patients, parameters were compared before and during eculizumab treatment (at 1 and 2hours, 1, 4 and≥12weeks after commencement).

RESULTS: Patients with a history of thrombosis had elevated D-dimers (p=0.02) but not MP. Among patients on anticoagulants, those with thrombosis had higher F1+2 concentrations (p=0.003). TF activity was undetectable in plasma MP. Unexpectedly, thrombin peak height and thrombin potential were significantly lower in PNH patients than in healthy controls. Fibrinolysis parameters were normal. During eculizumab treatment D-dimer levels significantly decreased after 1hour (p=0.008) and remained decreased at≥12weeks (p=0.03). F1+2 (p=0.03) and thrombin peak height (p=0.02) in patients not on anticoagulants significantly decreased at≥week 12. MP remained unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS: Eculizumab induces an immediate decrease of D-dimer levels but not of other markers. The decrease in thrombin peak height and F1+2 suggests that eculizumab reduces thrombin generation. Elevated D-dimer levels in untreated PNH patients with a history of thrombosis suggest possible value in predicting thrombotic risk.

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