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Semin Hematol. 2007 Oct;44(4 Suppl 5):S24-34. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2007.11.004.

Other immune thrombocytopenias.

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  • 1Hematology Section, Department of Medicine, University of Southern California-Keck School of Medicine, Division of Cancer Medicine and Blood Diseases, Los Angeles, CA.


Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) can be classified as primary (known also as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) or as secondary to an underlying condition such as a malignant or nonmalignant disorder. Commonly occurring conditions associated with secondary ITP include lymphoproliferative disorders (chronic lymphocytic leukemia [CLL], Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas), autoimmune collagen vascular diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE], thyroid disease, antiphospholipid syndrome [APS]), and chronic infections (human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis C virus [HCV]). The mechanism of platelet destruction in thrombocytopenias associated with lymphoproliferative disorders and collagen vascular diseases is identical to the autoimmune mechanism seen in primary ITP. Drug-induced thrombocytopenias are uncommon and generally resolve quickly upon drug discontinuation, but are often attributed to other causes. Platelet destruction in infection-associated ITP occurs via various mechanisms including accelerated platelet clearance due to immune complex disease as seen in HIV infection or cross-reactivity of anti-platelet glycoprotein antibodies and viral antigens in HIV, HCV, and H pylori infections (antigenic mimicry). In patients with HCV-related cirrhotic liver disease, splenic sequestration secondary to portal hypertension and decreased production of thrombopoietin may further contribute to development of thrombocytopenia. The current treatment paradigm for secondary ITP varies according to the underlying condition. Standard treatments for primary ITP (corticosteroids, IVIG, anti-D, splenectomy) are often successful in secondary ITP. In cases of ITP with H pylori and HCV infection, treatment should focus on the underlying disorder.

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