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Oncology (Williston Park). 2002 Nov;16(11):1558-67; discussion 1570, 1572-4.

Issues in the management of cancer-related thrombocytopenia.

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Departments of Medicine and Pathology & Immunology, Divisions of Laboratory Medicine and Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63110-1093, USA.


Thrombocytopenia remains a significant clinical problem for patients with cancer. Management approaches include watchful waiting, platelet transfusions, and the use of pharmacologic agents. Although platelet transfusion remains the gold standard for prophylaxis and treatment of thrombocytopenia, this approach is associated with transfusion-transmitted disease, infection, and platelet refractoriness. Because of these complications and the expense of platelet therapy, recent studies have examined the clinical evidence supporting the widely used platelet transfusion trigger of 20,000 cells/microL and found that values of 5,000 to 10,000 cells/microL are safe for selected patients. Several investigational agents offer promise for treatment of thrombocytopenia in patients undergoing myelosuppressive and myeloablative therapy. These agents include recombinant human interleukin-11, recombinant human thrombopoietin, and c-Mpl ligand mimetics.

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