Epidemiological Challenges in Rare Bleeding Disorders: FVIII Inhibitor Incidence in Haemophilia A Patients-A Known Issue of Unknown Origin
International journal of environmental research and public health. 2020;18(1)
There is a broad range of factor products approved in Germany for haemophilia A treatment. Since the introduction of recombinant coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) products in the 1990s, there has been substantial debate whether there is a difference in inhibitor incidence between single FVIII products or product classes. Neither haemophilia registries nor clinical studies, including a randomised controlled clinical trial, provided a consistent and definite answer. The reasons were mainly related to methodological challenges in conducting controlled studies in a rare disease. In this analysis, the most relevant epidemiological challenges and main problems were examined, including study bias, potential overlap of individual studies and advanced development of therapy and methods in the course of time. Meta-analyses on two levels showed that therapies using recombinant products resulted in different event rates when compared to plasma-derived products. These results are accompanied by substantial study heterogeneity evidenced by Cochran's Q tests. Only three studies have been identified that meet the standards of current clinical guidance. To finally resolve this ongoing and disputable safety issue of replacement therapy, collaboration among registry owners, academia and regulators must be fostered.