Background and aims To analyse the predictive value of megakaryocyte counts in bone marrow (BM-MK) for determining the therapeutic response of severe thrombocytopenia (TP) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods Thirty-five patients with SLE with severe TP (platelet count ≤50 ×109/l) from the Peking Union Medical College Hospital admitted between 2007 and 2014 with appreciable bone marrow aspiration results were analysed retrospectively. The associations between therapeutic response and clinical manifestations, laboratory findings including BM-MK counts, were evaluated.
Results Seventeen (49%) and 8 (23%) patients achieved a complete response (CR) and a partial response (PR), respectively, and 10 had no response (NR). The BM-MK counts in each group were 102±25 (0–322), 136±48 (2–419), and 28±12 (0–105) per slide, respectively. Significant differences were observed in the counts of BM-MK between patients who achieved a clinical response (CR + PR) and those who did not (NR; p=0.007). Patients in the NR group exhibited fewer BM-MK compared with those in the CR and PR groups (p=0.017 and p=0.006, respectively). A receiver-operation characteristic analysis identified that a cutoff value of BM-MK counts at 20 performed pretty well in discriminating patients with differential responses to immunotherapy, with sensitivity and specificity and area under the curve of 88%, 70%, and 0.798, respectively.
Conclusions BM-MK count may serve as a good predicting factor for immunotherapeutic response in patients with SLE with severe TP. Patients with BM-MK counts <20 per slide tend to exhibit poor clinical response.
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