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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Patients with haematological malignancies are a high-user group for blood transfusions. Here, we describe the current evidence on transfusion policies in patients with haematological malignancies, based on recent systematic reviews of RCTs. RECENT FINDINGS: Results from six RCTs (1195 participants) suggest that prophylactic platelet transfusions reduce bleeding compared with therapeutic-only use, although the effects varied according to patient diagnosis/treatment plan. A meta-analysis of seven RCTs (1814 participants) reported that low-dose platelet transfusions (1.1 × 10/m ± 25%) were noninferior to standard dose (2.2 × 10/m ± 25%), or high dose (4.4 × 10/m ± 25%). Three RCTs (499 participants) reported that restrictive platelet count thresholds (less than 10 × 10/l) were noninferior to liberal thresholds counts (less than 20-30 × 10/l). For red-cell transfusions, the data from completed RCTs was less advanced. A recent meta-analysis with four RCTs (240 participants) suggested that restrictive thresholds (less than 70-90 g/l) are noninferior to liberal thresholds (less than 80-120 g/l), but with more uncertainty for clinical outcomes. SUMMARY: There is support from randomised trials for using prophylactic platelet transfusions, in low-dose, and with restrictive thresholds. No large completed studies have been published for red-cell transfusions. Many studies overall were arguably underpowered and only offered low-to-medium grade level evidence.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Hematol

Publication Date





515 - 520


Erythrocyte Transfusion, Female, Hematologic Neoplasms, Humans, Male, Platelet Transfusion, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic