Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria in Patients with Aplastic Anemia: Challenges, Characteristics, and Analysis of Clinical Experience

ER Shilova1, TV Glazanova1, ZhV Chubukina1, OE Rozanova1, MN Zenina1, AV Seltser1, VI Rugal1, VA Balashova1, VA Kobilyanskaya1, II Krobinets1, VYu Udal’eva1, II Zotova1, LV Stelmashenko1, NA Romanenko1, TB Zamotina1, IV Khorsheva1, SV Voloshin1,2,3

1 Russian Research Institute of Hematology and Transfusiology, 16 2-ya Sovetskaya str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 191024

2 SM Kirov Military Medical Academy, 6 Akademika Lebedeva str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 194044

3 II Mechnikov North-Western State Medical University, 41 Kirochnaya str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 191015

For correspondence: Elena Romanovna Shilova, 16 2-ya Sovetskaya str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 191024; Tel.: +7(981)129-09-77; e-mail:

For citation: Shilova ER, Glazanova TV, Chubukina ZhV, et al. Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria in Patients with Aplastic Anemia: Challenges, Characteristics, and Analysis of Clinical Experience. Clinical oncohematology. 2019;12(3):319–28 (In Russ).

doi: 10.21320/2500-2139-2019-12-3-319-328


Background & Aims. Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a disease caused by an acquired clonal disorder of hematopoietic stem cells with clone cell membrane hypersensitivity to the complement. PNH can exist as an independent disease and can also be associated with other pathological conditions characterized by bone marrow deficiency, first of all with aplastic anemia (AA). In PNH-associated AA (AA/PNH) pathological clones may be initially of different size. In some patients a gradual growth of PNH clone is observed together with occurring signs of intravascular hemolysis and transformation into classical hemolytic PNH. In this case it is important to assess the clinical situation and determine eligibility for complement inhibitor therapy. During targeted therapy it is necessary to assess the efficacy of treatment based on monitoring of complement-mediated hemolysis and to identify probable reasons for insufficient effect.

Materials & Methods. The paper deals with 1 clinical case. A female patient born in 1964, with initial diagnosis of AA was followed-up from 1989 till present at the Russian Research Institute of Hematology and Transfusiology. Her treatment included blood-component therapy, the use of antilymphocyte immunoglobulin, cyclosporine, plasmapheresis, eculizumab, and symptom-relieving drugs.

Results. The study deals with the case of transformation of non-severe AA with remission after immune-suppressive therapy into classical hemolytic PNH. The case report describes the characteristic features, AA/PNH diagnosis and treatment issues at different stages of the disease, and the reasons for incomplete effect of targeted therapy.

Conclusion. The case under discussion confirms the relevance of current methods of detecting PNH clone at early stages of AA diagnosis and dynamic follow-up with respect to a probable growth of clone with PNH phenotype, especially at the stage of hematopoietic recovery. Determination of PNH clone size and lactate dehydrogenase serum level is required for timely amendment of treatment strategy with a switch to long-term targeted monitoring of hemolysis which allows to prevent irreversible visceral changes and severe complications. In case of insufficient effect of targeted therapy with ongoing anemia Coombs test is recommended because of probability of C3-mediated extravascular hemolysis.

Keywords: aplastic anemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, PNH phenotype, PNH clone, targeted therapy, C3-mediated hemolysis.

Received: December 24, 2018

Accepted: May 29, 2019

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