Pathogen reduction (PR) technologies for blood components have been established to reduce the residual risk of known and emerging infectious agents. THERAFLEX UVPlatelets, a novel UVC light-based PR technology for platelet concentrates, works without photoactive substances. This randomized, controlled, double-blind, multicenter, noninferiority trial was designed to compare the efficacy and safety of UVC-treated platelets to that of untreated platelets in thrombocytopenic patients with hematologic-oncologic diseases. Primary objective was to determine non-inferiority of UVC-treated platelets, assessed by the 1-hour corrected count increment (CCI) in up to eight per-protocol platelet transfusion episodes. Analysis of the 171 eligible patients showed that the defined non-inferiority margin of 30% of UVC-treated platelets was narrowly missed as the mean differences in 1-hour CCI between standard platelets versus UVC-treated platelets for intention-to-treat and perprotocol analyses were 18.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.4%; 30.1) and 18.7% (95% CI: 6.3%; 31.1%), respectively. In comparison to the control, the UVC group had a 19.2% lower mean 24-hour CCI and was treated with an about 25% higher number of platelet units, but the average number of days to next platelet transfusion did not differ significantly between both treatment groups. The frequency of low-grade adverse events was slightly higher in the UVC group and the frequencies of refractoriness to platelet transfusion, platelet alloimmunization, severe bleeding events, and red blood cell transfusions were comparable between groups. Our study suggests that transfusion of pathogen-reduced platelets produced with the UVC technology is safe but non-inferiority was not demonstrated. (The German Clinical Trials Register number: DRKS00011156).
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