Advances in the treatment of hemophilia: Implications for laboratory testing

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BACKGROUND: Until recently, clinical laboratories have monitored hemophilia treatment by measuring coagulation factors before/after infusion of human-derived or recombinant factors. Substantial changes are expected in the near future based on new therapeutic approaches that have been or are being developed. CONTENT: Hemophilia treatment includes replacement therapy with human-derived/recombinant factors or treatment with bypassing agents for patients without or with inhibitors, respectively. Accordingly, laboratory methods for monitoring include one-stage clotting or chromogenic assays meant to measure either factor VIII/IX or global coagulation tests to measure the effect of bypassing agents. Recently, modified long-acting coagulation factors have been introduced for which discrepant results may be expected when measurement is performed with one-stage clotting or chromogenic assays. Currently, novel drugs not based on coagulation factors are under development and are being tested in clinical studies. These drugs do require new methods and therefore laboratory evaluation of hemophilia will undergo dramatic changes in the near future. SUMMARY: From the analysis of the current practice and literature, we draw the following conclusions: (a) Thrombin generation or thromboelastometry are the logical candidate assays to monitor bypassing agents. (b) Considerable differences are expected when measuring modified long-acting coagulation factors, depending on whether one-stage or chromogenic assays are used. Although no definitive conclusions can presently be drawn, chromogenic assays are probably more suitable than one-stage clotting. (c) Novel drugs not based on coagulation factors such as emicizumab, fitusiran, or concizumab that are entering the market do require alternative methods that are not yet well established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-262
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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