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Prevalence of autoantibodies directed against prothrombin in unprovoked venous thromboembolism

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The anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS) is defined by the laboratory detection of at least one of three anti-phospholipid autoantibodies (lupus anticoagulant, or anti-cardiolipin or anti-β2-glycoprotein I antibodies) in the clinical setting of thrombosis or pregnancy morbidity in a patient. Recognising APS and administering appropriate secondary thromboprophylaxis is important to reduce risk of recurrent thrombosis and/or pregnancy morbidity. In some instances, patients having clinical manifestations highly suggestive of APS are persistently negative for these antibodies but instead have other autoantibodies. Autoantibodies directed against prothrombin (PT) have been associated with increased thrombotic risk and comprise anti-prothrombin (aPT) and anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin (aPS/PT) antibodies. Detection of aPT and aPS/PT may help stratify patients for more effective treatment, however, their prevalence among patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE) is unknown and determination of their frequencies is the objective of this study. Sera from 148 patients with unprovoked VTE were analysed. Autoantibodies directed against PT collectively, aPT and aPS/PT were present in 24.3%, 14.9% and 13.5%, respectively. Prevalence of these autoantibodies in unprovoked VTE is much lower compared to cohorts comprising mainly patients with systemic autoimmune disorders. Detection of these autoantibodies in unprovoked VTE has potential therapeutic implications for patients including the duration of anticoagulation and administration, or otherwise, of direct oral anticoagulants. Data from this study will assist in the design of future clinical studies to estimate risk of recurrent VTE and to determine optimal management.

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Grant-in-aid of medical research from the Austin Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) which helped meet the cost of purchasing the test kits for the detection of autoantibodies directed against prothrombin.

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Correspondence to Wai Khoon Ho.

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Ho, W.K., Rigano, J. Prevalence of autoantibodies directed against prothrombin in unprovoked venous thromboembolism. J Thromb Thrombolysis (2020).

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  • Anti-prothrombin antibody
  • Anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin antibody
  • ‘Non-criteria’ antibodies
  • Anti-phospholipid syndrome
  • Unprovoked venous thromboembolism