The pathogenetic role and the clinical importance of the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (APAs) in patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) are not clear. In this study, the prevalence and clinical significance of APAs were investigated in patients with ITP. Eighty-two newly diagnosed ITP patients were prospectively studied. They were evaluated for the presence of lupus anticoagulant (LA) and immunoglobulin G/M anticardiolipin antibodies (ACAs). Thirty-one patients (37.8%) were APA positive at diagnosis. No statistically significant differences were found between the APA-positive and APA-negative groups regarding gender, initial platelet counts, or response to methylprednisolone therapy. After 5 years of followup, cumulative thrombosis-free survival of APA-positive (n = 31) and APA-negative (n = 51) ITP patients was 39% and 97.7%, respectively. A significant difference was found between these groups by log-rank test (P = .0004). In addition, LA was an important risk marker for the development of thrombosis in ITP patients. After a median follow-up of 38 months, 14 ITP patients (45%) who had APA positivity developed clinical features (thrombosis or fetal losses) of anti phospho lipid syndrome (APS). There were no differences between the APA-positive patients with and without APS regarding the initial Platelet counts, response to the therapy, or ACA positivity. The positivity rate for LA was significantly higher in those patients with ITP who developed APS (chi (2): P = .0036; relative risk 7.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-47). In conclusion, this study indicates that a significant proportion of patients initially presenting with ITP and APA positivity developed APS. In patients with ITP, the persistent presence of APAs is an important risk factor for the development of APS. (C) 2001 by The American Society of Hematology.