Safety and efficacy of long-term treatment of chronic/persistent ITP with eltrombopag: final results of the EXTEND study

Raymond S. M. Wong, Mansoor N. Saleh, Abderrahim Khelif, Abdulgabar Salama, Maria Socorro O. Portella, Paul Burgess and James B. Bussel
This article has an Erratum 131(6):709

Key Points

  • Median platelet counts increased to 50 × 109/L or more by week 2 in patients with ITP and were maintained for ≥2 years.

  • Lower platelet counts, more previous therapies, and/or splenectomy resulted in good but somewhat lower responses to eltrombopag.


In phase 2/3 trials, eltrombopag treatment of 6 months or less in patients with chronic/persistent immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) increased platelet counts and reduced bleeding. The open-label EXTEND study evaluated long-term safety and efficacy of eltrombopag in adults with ITP who had completed a previous eltrombopag study. For the 302 patients enrolled, median duration of eltrombopag treatment was 2.37 years (2 days-8.76 years). Median platelet counts increased to 50 × 109/L or more by week 2 and were sustained throughout the treatment period. Overall, 259 patients (85.8%) achieved a response (platelet count ≥50 × 109/L at least once in the absence of rescue), and 133 (52%) of 257 patients achieved a continuous response of 25 weeks or longer. Responses in patients with platelet counts lower than 15 × 109/L, more previous therapies, and/or splenectomy were somewhat lower. Thirty-four (34%) of 101 patients receiving concomitant ITP medication discontinued 1 or more medication. In patients with assessments, bleeding symptoms (World Health Organization grades 1-4) decreased from 57% at baseline to 16% at 1 year. Forty-one patients (14%) withdrew because of adverse events. Hepatobiliary adverse events (n = 7), cataracts (n = 4), deep vein thrombosis (n = 3), cerebral infarction (n = 2), headache (n = 2), and myelofibrosis (n = 2) occurred in more than 1 patient; the remaining adverse events occurred only once. Rates of thromboembolic events (6%) and hepatobiliary adverse events (15%) did not increase with treatment duration past 1 year. EXTEND demonstrated that long-term use of eltrombopag was effective in maintaining platelet counts of 50 × 109/L or more and reducing bleeding in most patients with ITP of more than 6 months’ duration. Important adverse events (eg, thrombosis, hepatobiliary, and bone marrow fibrosis) were infrequent. (

  • Submitted April 6, 2017.
  • Accepted October 4, 2017.
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