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A recent randomized trial (TOPPS) compared prophylactic platelet transfusions (for counts <10×10(9)/L) with a strategy of no-prophylaxis in adults with hematologic malignancies. Seventy percent of enrolled patients received an autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Statistical models were developed to explore which patient factors or clinical characteristics are important prognostic factors for bleeding. These models were presented for baseline characteristics and for recurrent analysis of bleeding to assess the risks of World Health Organization grade 2-4 bleeding on any given day. Additional analyses explored the importance of fever. Treatment plan (chemotherapy/allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant), female sex, and treatment arm (no-prophylaxis) were significantly associated with an increased number of days of bleeding. The number of days with a platelet count <10×109/L was significantly associated with a grade 2-4 bleed (P<0.0001). Patients with a temperature of at least 38°C had the highest hazard of a grade 2-4 bleed (hazard ratio: 1.7, 95% confidence interval: 1.3 to 2.4, compared with the risk in patients with a temperature <37.5°C). There was no evidence that minor bleeding predicted a grade 2-4 bleed. The results highlighted the limited role of correction of thrombocytopenia by platelet transfusion in reducing the risk of bleeding. Clinically stable patients undergoing autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation had the lowest risk of bleeding and benefited least from prophylactic platelet transfusions. Prospective studies are required to address the usefulness of risk factors to support better targeted platelet transfusions. TOPPS number ISRCTN08758735.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





740 - 747


Female, Hematologic Neoplasms, Hemorrhage, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Platelet Transfusion, Prospective Studies, Recurrence, Risk Factors