Persistent cytopenia due to poor graft function (PoGF) is a relatively common complication which may affect up to 20% of patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Treatment options for PoGF remain limited, and reinfusion of additional HSC is often the only way to rescue hematopoiesis. Here we describe a retrospective single-center experience with the thrombopoietin-mimetic agent eltrombopag for the treatment of PoGF. Thirteen patients have received eltrombopag for either PoGF (n = 12) or primary graft failure (n = 1). In the 12 PoGF patients eltrombopag was started at the median time of 79 days after HSCT, due to persistent thrombocytopenia, with concomitant anemia and neutropenia in 7 and 3 patients, respectively. The treatment was started at the dose of 50 mg per day, and eventually increased up to 150 mg in case of lack of response. Hematological response was seen in 7 patients, with 6 complete responses. Hematological responses were seen both in patients with evidence of immune-mediated pathophysiology, and with possible infectious/iatrogenic causes. In responding patients, eltrombopag was discontinued in 6/7 patients without further relapse. These results suggest that eltrombopag is safe and possibly effective in the setting of the treatment of PoGF, and pave the way for future prospective studies.
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