Early Increase in Complement Terminal Pathway Activation Marker sC5b-9 Is Predictive for the Development of Thrombotic Microangiopathy after Stem Cell Transplantation

Orsolya Horváth, Krisztián Kállay, Dorottya Csuka, Blanka Mező, György Sinkovits, Csaba Kassa, Anita Stréhn, Katalin Csordás, János Sinkó, Zoltán Prohászka, Gergely Kriván

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)–associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TA-TMA) is a multifactorial complication, and its prediction is largely unresolved. Our aim was to analyze changes of complement profile after HSCT to identify potential markers of TA-TMA development. Thirty-three consecutive pediatric patients (9.6 ± 4.4 years old) who underwent allogeneic HSCT due to malignant (n = 17) or nonmalignant (n = 16) indications were included in this study. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was diagnosed using Glucksberg criteria, viral reactivation was monitored, 5 different TA-TMA diagnostic criteria were applied, and all important clinical and laboratory parameters of TA-TMA activity were registered. Complement pathway activities, components and terminal pathway activation marker (sC5b-9) levels were systematically measured before transplantation and on days 28, 56, and 100 after HSCT. During the first 100 days after HSCT, 1 of 33 patients died (day 50, multiple organ failure), whereas 10 subjects met the criteria for TA-TMA, typically on day 61 (range, 16 to 98 days). TA-TMA was preceded by acute GVHD in 3 of 10 patients, by viral reactivation in 2 of 10, or by both in 4 of 10 cases. Baseline sC5b-9 levels did not differ in patients without (200 [interquartile range, 144 to 266] ng/mL), or with (208 [interquartile range, 166 to 271] ng/mL) subsequent TA-TMA; however, on day 28 significant differences were observed (201 [interquartile range, 185 to 290] ng/mL versus 411 [interquartile range, 337 to 471] ng/mL; P =.004). Importantly, all 10 patients with TMA showed increase in sC5b-9 level from baseline level to day 28, whereas in patients without TMA the same tendency was observed for only 9 of 23 patients (P =.031). No additional complement parameters were closely associated with the development of TA-TMA. Development of TA-TMA occurred in 30% of our patients, typically after GVHD and/or viral reactivation. However, early raise of sC5b-9 activation marker was predictive for later development of TA-TMA, and should therefore be considered as an alarming sign necessitating a careful monitoring of all TA-TMA activity markers. Further studies enrolling a higher number of patients are necessary to determine if terminal pathway activation is an independent predictor of TA-TMA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-996
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Complement
  • HSCT
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Pediatric
  • TA-TMA
  • Transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation

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