Gender-related analysis of the clinical presentation, treatment response and outcome in patients with immune thrombocytopenia.
BACKGROUND: Immune thrombocytopenia (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura [ITP]) frequently occurs in young adults, particularly women in their third or fourth decade. The female predominance suggests that sex hormones may play a role in the different aspects of ITP. In this paper, we report a gender-related analysis of patients with ITP, specifically examining the clinical manifestations, responses to treatment and overall outcomes of the patients. METHODS: We included patients with "ITP" attending the departments of onco-hematology or internal medicine B (university hospital of Strasbourg, France) between 1990 and December 2010 The gender-related analysis was retrospective. RESULTS: We studied in 225 consecutive cases of established ITP with a follow-up period of 1.7 to 112 months The mean age of the patients was 44 years; 156 patients were female. The analysis revealed no significant statistical differences regarding patient characteristics between the female and male groups, with the exception of the following characteristics: the bleeding score, which altered in the presence of meno- and/or metrorrhagia and hematuria in female patients (P=0.03); the presence of anemia (P=0.04); and the detection of antinuclear and/or antiphospholipid antibodies (P=0.02). During the follow-up, no statistically significant difference was found regarding outcome or treatment response in relation to gender among these 225 patients (all P>0.05). DISCUSSION: Gender does not appear to affect the manifestation of immune thrombocytopenia, the outcome or response to treatment. However, further large-scale randomized trials are needed to confirm these findings.