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1.  Comparative Efficacy and Safety of Deferoxamine, Deferiprone and Deferasirox on Severe Thalassemia: A Meta-Analysis of 16 Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82662.
A meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the efficacy and safety of three main iron chelators, namely, deferoxamine (DFO), deferiprone (DFP) and deferasirox (DFX) for thalassemia major (TM) patients.
Randomized controlled trials comparing mono-therapy DFO, DFP, DFX and combined DFP with DFO therapy in TM patients from January 1990 to December 2012 were searched and selected. Two independent authors assessed data from extracted randomized trials for efficacy and safety in the measurements of serum ferritin (SF), live iron concentration (LIC), myocardial iron content (MIC), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and adverse events (AEs).
Sixteen studies were selected. In the comparison of DFP versus DFO treatment groups, a significant difference was revealed on MIC and LVEF (P=0.01 and P=0.007, respectively) but not on SF or LIC level (P=0.65 and P=0.37, respectively). In comparing combined therapy (DFP plus DFO) versus DFO, a significant difference was shown on MIC and LVEF measurements (P<0.00001 and P=0.003, respectively), but not on SF or LIC levels (P=0.93 and P=0.62, respectively). Moreover, the combined DFP with DFO treatment had significantly higher risk than DFO treatment (RR 1.46 with 95%CI 1.04 to 2.04). When comparing DFX with DFO, a significant difference was shown on the SF level (P=0.003), and there was no difference between DFX and DFO in safety evaluation (RR 1.53 with 95%CI 0.31 to 7.49).
Findings indicated that the most effective and safe iron chelators remains to be proven, and further large-scale, long-term studies are needed.
PMCID: PMC3871701  PMID: 24376563
2.  Combined Chelation Therapy with Deferasirox and Deferoxamine in Thalassemia 
Iron overload is the primary cause of mortality and morbidity in thalassemia major despite advances in chelation therapy. We performed a pilot clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of combined therapy with deferasirox (DFX, 20-30 mg/kg daily) and deferoxamine (DFO, 35-50 mg/kg on 3-7 days/week) in 22 patients with persistent iron overload or organ damage. In the 18 subjects completing 12 months of therapy, median liver iron concentration decreased by 31% from 17.4 mg/g (range 3.9-38.2 mg/g) to 12.0 mg/g (range 0.96-26.7 mg/g, P<0.001). Median ferritin decreased by 24% from 2,465 ng/mL (range 1,110-10,700 ng/mL) to 1,875 ng/mL (range 421-5,800 ng/mL, p=0.002). All 6 subjects with elevated myocardial iron showed improvement in MRI T2* (p=0.031). The mean ± S.E. plasma non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) declined from 3.10 ± 0.25 μM to 2.15 ± 0.29 μM (p=0.028). The administration of DFX during infusion of DFO further lowered NTBI (-0.28 ±0.08 μM, p=0.004) and labile plasma iron (LPI, -0.03 ± 0.01 μM, p=0.006). The simultaneous administration of DFO and DFX rapidly reduced systemic and myocardial iron, and provided an excellent control of the toxic labile plasma iron species without an increase in toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3592978  PMID: 23151373
Thalassemia Major; Iron overload; Deferoxamine; Deferasirox
3.  Cost–Utility Analysis of Deferiprone for the Treatment of β-Thalassaemia Patients with Chronic Iron Overload: A UK Perspective 
Pharmacoeconomics  2013;31:807-822.
Patients with β-thalassaemia major experience chronic iron overload due to regular blood transfusions. Chronic iron overload can be treated using iron-chelating therapies such as desferrioxamine (DFO), deferiprone (DFP) and deferasirox (DFX) monotherapy, or DFO–DFP combination therapy.
This study evaluated the relative cost effectiveness of these regimens over a 5-year timeframe from a UK National Health Service (NHS) perspective, including personal and social services.
A Markov model was constructed to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the treatment regimens over 5 years. Based on published randomized controlled trial evidence, it was assumed that all four treatment regimens had a comparable effect on serum ferritin concentration (SFC) and liver iron concentration (LIC), and that DFP was more effective for reducing cardiac morbidity and mortality. Published utility scores for route of administration were used, with subcutaneously administered DFO assumed to incur a greater quality of life (QoL) burden than the oral chelators DFP and DFX. Healthcare resource use, drug costs (2010/2011 costs), and utilities associated with adverse events were also considered, with the effect of varying all parameters assessed in sensitivity analysis. Incremental costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were calculated for each treatment, with cost effectiveness expressed as incremental cost per QALY. Assumptions that DFP conferred no cardiac morbidity, mortality, or morbidity and mortality benefit were also explored in scenario analysis.
DFP was the dominant strategy in all scenarios modelled, providing greater QALY gains at a lower cost. Sensitivity analysis showed that DFP dominated all other treatments unless the QoL burden associated with the route of administration was greater for DFP than for DFO, which is unlikely to be the case. DFP had >99 % likelihood of being cost effective against all comparators at a willingness-to-pay threshold of £20,000 per QALY.
In this analysis, DFP appeared to be the most cost-effective treatment available for managing chronic iron overload in β-thalassaemia patients. Use of DFP in these patients could therefore result in substantial cost savings.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s40273-013-0076-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3757270  PMID: 23868464
4.  Deferasirox and deferiprone remove cardiac iron in the iron-overloaded gerbil 
Deferasirox effectively controls liver iron concentration; however, little is known regarding its ability to remove stored cardiac iron. Deferiprone seems to have increased cardiac efficacy compared with traditional deferoxamine therapy. Therefore, the relative efficacy of deferasirox and deferiprone were compared in removing cardiac iron from iron-loaded gerbils.
Twenty-nine 8- to 10-week-old female gerbils underwent 10 weekly iron dextran injections of 200 mg/kg/week. Prechelation iron levels were assessed in 5 animals, and the remainder received deferasirox 100 mg/kg/D po QD (n = 8), deferiprone 375 mg/kg/D po divided TID (n = 8), or sham chelation (n = 8), 5 days/week for 12 weeks.
Deferasirox reduced cardiac iron content 20.5%. No changes occurred in cardiac weight, myocyte hypertrophy, fibrosis, or weight-to-dry weight ratio. Deferasirox treatment reduced liver iron content 51%. Deferiprone produced comparable reductions in cardiac iron content (18.6% reduction). Deferiprone-treated hearts had greater mass (16.5% increase) and increased myocyte hypertrophy. Deferiprone decreased liver iron content 24.9% but was associated with an increase in liver weight and water content.
Deferasirox and deferiprone were equally effective in removing stored cardiac iron in a gerbil animal model, but deferasirox removed more hepatic iron for a given cardiac iron burden.
PMCID: PMC2896322  PMID: 17145573
5.  Relation of chelation regimes to cardiac mortality and morbidity in patients with thalassaemia major: an observational study from a large Greek Unit 
European Journal of Haematology  2010;85(4):335-344.
Cardiac complications because of transfusional iron overload are the main cause of death in thalassaemia major. New chelators and iron monitoring methods such as cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) became available after the year 2000. We evaluated the impact of these new management options on cardiac mortality and morbidity.
The risk of cardiac death during 1990–1999 and 2000–2008 was compared. Furthermore, after 1999, morbidity, mortality and reversal of heart failure were evaluated according to chelation regime: desferrioxamine (DFO), deferiprone (DFP) and combination therapy of DFO and DFP. We also present preliminary results for deferasirox (DFX), a new oral chelator.
Three hundred and fifty-four patients were included in the de novo cardiac event evaluation, while 86 were included in the improvement component. The annual risk of cardiac death in patients aged between 20–30 and 30–40 reduced from 1.52% to 0.67% and 1.87% to 0.56%, respectively, before and after the year 2000. The risk for a de novo cardiac event for DFO was 9.1 times greater than that of DFP and 23.6 than with the combination of DFP and DFO. For DFX, there was one cardiac event over 269 patient-years. The risk of cardiac death was 9.5 per 1000 patient-years for DFO, 2.5 on DFP, 1.4 on combination. In the DFX group no cardiac deaths were recorded. The odds of improvement were 8.5 times greater with DFP and 6.1 with combination therapy compared to DFO.
The new chelation regimes, together with CMR have contributed significantly to the reduction in cardiac morbidity and mortality in patients with thalassaemia major.
PMCID: PMC2970906  PMID: 20561034
thalassaemia major; cardiac disease; desferrioxamine; deferiprone; deferasirox; transfusional iron overload
6.  Deferasirox and Vitamin D Improves Overall Survival in Elderly Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia after Demethylating Agents Failure 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65998.
The prognosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in elderly (≥65 years) patients is poor and treatment remains non-consensual especially for those who are not eligible for intensive therapies. Our group has shown that in vitro the iron chelator deferasirox (DFX) synergizes with vitamin D (VD) to promote monocyte differentiation in primary AML cells. Herein, we present results from a retrospective case-control study in which the association of DFX (1–2 g/d) and 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (100,000 IU/week) (DFX/VD) was proposed to patients following demethylating agents failure. Median survival of patients treated with DFX/VD combination (n = 17) was significantly increased in comparison with matched patients receiving best supportive care (BSC) alone (n = 13) (10.4 versus 4 months respectively). In addition, the only factor associated to an increased overall survival in DFX/VD-treated patients was serum VD levels. We conclude that DFX/VD treatment correlated with increased overall survival of AML patients in this retrospective cohort of elderly patients.
PMCID: PMC3688707  PMID: 23840388
7.  Korean Guideline for Iron Chelation Therapy in Transfusion-Induced Iron Overload 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(11):1563-1572.
Many Korean patients with transfusion-induced iron overload experience serious clinical sequelae, including organ damage, and require lifelong chelation therapy. However, due to a lack of compliance and/or unavailability of an appropriate chelator, most patients have not been treated effectively. Deferasirox (DFX), a once-daily oral iron chelator for both adult and pediatric patients with transfusion-induced iron overload, is now available in Korea. The effectiveness of deferasirox in reducing or maintaining body iron has been demonstrated in many studies of patients with a variety of transfusion-induced anemias such as myelodysplastic syndromes, aplastic anemia, and other chronic anemias. The recommended initial daily dose of DFX is 20 mg/kg body weight, taken on an empty stomach at least 30 min before food and serum ferritin levels should be maintained below 1000 ng/mL. To optimize the management of transfusion-induced iron overload, the Korean Society of Hematology Aplastic Anemia Working Party (KSHAAWP) reviewed the general consensus on iron overload and the Korean data on the clinical benefits of iron chelation therapy, and developed a Korean guideline for the treatment of iron overload.
PMCID: PMC3835496  PMID: 24265517
Korean Guideline; Iron Overload; Deferasirox
MRI is gaining increasing importance for the noninvasive quantification of organ iron burden. Since transverse relaxation rates depend on iron distribution as well as iron concentration, physiologic and pharmacologic processes that alter iron distribution could change MRI calibration curves. This paper compares the effect of three iron chelators, deferoxamine, deferiprone, and deferasirox on R1 and R2 calibration curves according to two iron loading and chelation strategies. 33 Mongolian gerbils underwent iron loading (iron dextran 500 mg/kg/wk) for 3 weeks followed by 4 weeks of chelation. An additional 56 animals received less aggressive loading (200 mg/kg/week) for 10 weeks, followed by 12 weeks of chelation. R1 and R2 calibration curves were compared to results from 23 iron-loaded animals that had not received chelation. Acute iron loading and chelation biased R1 and R2 from the unchelated reference calibration curves but chelator-specific changes were not observed, suggesting physiologic rather than pharmacologic differences in iron distribution. Long term chelation deferiprone treatment increased liver R1 50% (p<0.01), while long term deferasirox lowered liver R2 30.9% (p<0.0001). The relationship between R1 and R2 and organ iron concentration may depend upon the acuity of iron loading and unloading as well as the iron chelator administered.
PMCID: PMC2525452  PMID: 18581418
9.  Long-term safety and efficacy of deferasirox (Exjade®) for up to 5 years in transfusional iron-overloaded patients with sickle cell disease 
British Journal of Haematology  2011;154(3):387-397.
To date, there is a lack of long-term safety and efficacy data for iron chelation therapy in transfusion-dependent patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). To evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of deferasirox (a once-daily oral iron chelator), patients with SCD completing a 1-year, Phase II, randomized, deferoxamine (DFO)-controlled study entered a 4-year extension, continuing to receive deferasirox, or switching from DFO to deferasirox. Average actual deferasirox dose was 19·4 ± 6·3 mg/kg per d. Of 185 patients who received at least one deferasirox dose, 33·5% completed the 5-year study. The most common reasons for discontinuation were withdrawal of consent (23·8%), lost to follow-up (9·2%) and adverse events (AEs) (7·6%). Investigator-assessed drug-related AEs were predominantly gastrointestinal [including nausea (14·6%), diarrhoea (10·8%)], mild-to-moderate and transient in nature. Creatinine clearance remained within the normal range throughout the study. Despite conservative initial dosing, serum ferritin levels in patients with ≥4 years deferasirox exposure significantly decreased by −591 μg/l (95% confidence intervals, −1411, −280 μg/l; P=0·027; n=67). Long-term deferasirox treatment for up to 5 years had a clinically acceptable safety profile, including maintenance of normal renal function, in patients with SCD. Iron burden was substantially reduced with appropriate dosing in patients treated for at least 4 years.
PMCID: PMC3170481  PMID: 21592110
deferasirox; Exjade; oral iron chelator; sickle cell disease; iron overload
10.  Iron toxicity in mice with collagenase-induced intracerebral hemorrhage 
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating form of stroke. In this study, we examined the efficacy of deferoxamine (DFX), an iron chelator, after collagenase-induced ICH in 12-month-old mice. Intracerebral hemorrhage was induced by intrastriatal injection of collagenase. Deferoxamine (200 mg/kg, intraperitoneal) or vehicle was administrated 6 hours after ICH and then every 12 hours for up to 3 days. Neurologic deficits were examined on days 1 and 3 after ICH. Mice were killed after 1 or 3 days of DFX treatment for examination of iron deposition, neuronal death, oxidative stress, microglia/astrocyte activation, neutrophil infiltration, brain injury volume, and brain edema and swelling. Collagenase-induced ICH resulted in iron overload in the perihematomal region on day 3. Systemic administration of DFX decreased iron accumulation and neuronal death, attenuated production of reactive oxygen species, and reduced microglial activation and neutrophil infiltration without affecting astrocytes. Although DFX did not reduce brain injury volume, edema, or swelling, it improved neurologic function. Results of our study indicate that iron toxicity contributes to collagenase-induced hemorrhagic brain injury and that reducing iron accumulation can reduce neuronal death and modestly improve functional outcome after ICH in mice.
PMCID: PMC3099628  PMID: 21102602
deferoxamine; inflammation; iron; neuronal death; reactive oxygen species; stroke
11.  Comparison of twice-daily vs once-daily deferasirox dosing in a gerbil model of iron cardiomyopathy 
Experimental hematology  2007;35(7):1069-1073.
Despite the availability of deferoxamine chelation therapy for more than 20 years, iron cardiomyopathy remains the leading cause of death in thalassemia major patients. Effective chelation of cardiac iron is difficult; cardiac iron stores respond more slowly to chelation therapy and require a constant gradient of labile iron species between serum and myocytes. We have previously demonstrated the efficacy of once-daily deferasirox in removing previously stored cardiac iron in the gerbil, but changes in cardiac iron were relatively modest compared with hepatic iron. We postulated that daily divided dosing, by sustaining a longer labile iron gradient from myocytes to serum, would produce better cardiac iron chelation than a comparable daily dose.
Twenty-four 8- to 10-week-old female gerbils underwent iron dextran—loading for 10 weeks, followed by a 1-week iron equilibration period. Animals were divided into three treatment groups of eight animals each and were treated with deferasirox 100 mg/kg/day as a single dose, deferasirox 100 mg/kg/day daily divided dose, or sham chelation for a total of 12 weeks. Following euthanasia, organs were harvested for quantitative iron and tissue histology.
Hepatic and cardiac iron contents were not statistically different between the daily single-dose and daily divided-dose groups. However, the ratio of cardiac to hepatic iron content was lower in the divided-dose group (0.78% vs 1.11%, p = 0.0007).
Daily divided dosing of deferasirox changes the relative cardiac and liver iron chelation profile compared with daily single dosing, trading improvements in cardiac iron elimination for less-effective hepatic chelation.
PMCID: PMC2892931  PMID: 17588475
12.  Health-Related Quality of Life, Treatment Satisfaction, Adherence and Persistence in β-Thalassemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome Patients with Iron Overload Receiving Deferasirox: Results from the EPIC Clinical Trial 
Anemia  2012;2012:297641.
Treatment of iron overload using deferoxamine (DFO) is associated with significant deficits in patients' health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and low treatment satisfaction. The current article presents patient-reported HRQOL, satisfaction, adherence, and persistence data from β-thalassemia (n = 274) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients (n = 168) patients participating in the Evaluation of Patients' Iron Chelation with Exjade (EPIC) study (NCT00171821); a large-scale 1-year, phase IIIb study investigating the efficacy and safety of the once-daily oral iron chelator, deferasirox. HRQOL and satisfaction, adherence, and persistence to iron chelation therapy (ICT) data were collected at baseline and end of study using the Medical Outcomes Short-Form 36-item Health Survey (SF-36v2) and the Satisfaction with ICT Questionnaire (SICT). Compared to age-matched norms, β-thalassemia and MDS patients reported lower SF-36 domain scores at baseline. Low levels of treatment satisfaction, adherence, and persistence were also observed. HRQOL improved following treatment with deferasirox, particularly among β-thalassemia patients. Furthermore, patients reported high levels of satisfaction with deferasirox at end of study and greater ICT adherence, and persistence. Findings suggest deferasirox improves HRQOL, treatment satisfaction, adherence, and persistence with ICT in β-thalassemia and MDS patients. Improving such outcomes is an important long-term goal for patients with iron overload.
PMCID: PMC3424665  PMID: 22924125
13.  Iron chelation therapy in the myelodysplastic syndromes and aplastic anemia: a review of experience in South Korea 
Emerging clinical data indicate that transfusion-dependent patients with bone marrow-failure syndromes (BMFS) are at risk of the consequences of iron overload, including progressive damage to hepatic, endocrine, and cardiac organs. Despite the availability of deferoxamine (DFO) in Korea since 1998, data from patients with myelodysplastic syndromes, aplastic anemia, and other BMFS show significant iron overload and damage to the heart and liver. The recent introduction of deferasirox, a once-daily, oral iron chelator, may improve the availability of iron chelation therapy to iron-overloaded patients, and improve compliance in patients who may otherwise find adherence to the DFO regimen difficult.
PMCID: PMC2516545  PMID: 18604581
Aplastic anemia; Myelodysplastic syndromes; Iron overload; Deferasirox
14.  Iron Chelation by Deferoxamine Prevents Renal Interstitial Fibrosis in Mice with Unilateral Ureteral Obstruction 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89355.
Renal fibrosis plays an important role in the onset and progression of chronic kidney diseases (CKD). Although several mechanisms underlying renal fibrosis and candidate drugs for its treatment have been identified, the effect of iron chelator on renal fibrosis remains unclear. In the present study, we examined the effect of an iron chelator, deferoxamine (DFO), on renal fibrosis in mice with surgically induced unilateral ureter obstruction (UUO). Mice were divided into 4 groups: UUO with vehicle, UUO with DFO, sham with vehicle, and sham with DFO. One week after surgery, augmented renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis and the expression of collagen I, III, and IV increased in mice with UUO; these changes were suppressed by DFO treatment. Similarly, UUO-induced macrophage infiltration of renal interstitial tubules was reduced in UUO mice treated with DFO. UUO-induced expression of inflammatory cytokines and extracellular matrix proteins was abrogated by DFO treatment. DFO inhibited the activation of the transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-Smad3 pathway in UUO mice. UUO-induced NADPH oxidase activity and p22phox expression were attenuated by DFO. In the kidneys of UUO mice, divalent metal transporter 1, ferroportin, and ferritin expression was higher and transferrin receptor expression was lower than in sham-operated mice. Increased renal iron content was observed in UUO mice, which was reduced by DFO treatment. These results suggest that iron reduction by DFO prevents renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis by regulating TGF-β-Smad signaling, oxidative stress, and inflammatory responses.
PMCID: PMC3929716  PMID: 24586712
15.  Cardiac and hepatic iron and ejection fraction in thalassemia major: Multicentre prospective comparison of combined Deferiprone and Deferoxamine therapy against Deferiprone or Deferoxamine Monotherapy 
Due to the limited data available in literature, the aim of this multi-centre study was to prospectively compare in thalassemia major (TM) patients the efficacy of combined deferiprone (DFP) and deferoxamine (DFO) regimen versus either DFP and DFO in monotherapy by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) over a follow up of 18 months.
Among the first 1135 TM patients in the MIOT (Myocardial Iron Overload in Thalassemia) network, we evaluated those who had received either combined regimen (DFO + DFP, N=51) or DFP (N=39) and DFO (N=74) monotherapies between the two CMR scans. Iron overload was measured by T2* multiecho technique. Biventricular function parameters were quantitatively evaluated by cine images.
The percentage of patients that maintained a normal global heart T2* value was comparable between DFP+DFO versus both monotherapy groups. Among the patients with myocardial iron overload at baseline, the changes in the global heart T2* and in biventricular function were not significantly different in DFP+DFO compared with the DFP group. The improvement in the global heart T2* was significantly higher in the DFP+DFO than the DFO group, without a difference in biventricular function. Among the patients with hepatic iron at baseline, the decrease in liver iron concentration values was significantly higher with combination therapy than with either monotherapy group.
In TM patients at the dosages used in the real world, the combined DFP+DFO regimen was more effective in removing cardiac iron than DFO, and was superior in clearing hepatic iron than either DFO or DFP monotherapy. Combined therapy did not show an additional effect on heart function over DFP.
PMCID: PMC3599638  PMID: 23324167
Thalassemia; Chelation therapy; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance
16.  Clinically achievable plasma deferoxamine concentrations are therapeutic in a rat model of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. 
The iron-chelating drug deferoxamine (DFO) has been shown to be active in animal models of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), with effective daily intraperitoneal bolus dosages being 400 and 1,000 mg of DFO mesylate kg of body weight-1 in mouse and rat models, respectively. Continuous infusion produced a moderately improved response in a rat model. The data reported here demonstrate that the response achieved by continuous infusion of 195 and 335 mg of DFO mesylate kg-1 day-1 in the rat model is associated with mean concentrations in plasma of 1.3 and 2.5 micrograms of DFO ml-1 and mean concentrations in lung tissue of 4.9 and 6.0 micrograms of DFO g of lung tissue-1, respectively. Since current clinical use of DFO mesylate for the treatment of iron overload produces higher concentrations in the plasma of patients, DFO may prove to be a useful anti-PCP treatment. The 2.4- to 3.8-fold higher DFO concentration observed in lung tissue compared with that observed in plasma may be important in the response of PCP to DFO.
PMCID: PMC162875  PMID: 8540710
17.  Hydroxyurea Could Be a Good Clinically Relevant Iron Chelator 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82928.
Our previous study showed a reduction in serum ferritin of β-thalassemia patients on hydroxyurea therapy. Here we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of hydroxyurea alone and in combination with most widely used iron chelators like deferiprone and deferasirox for reducing iron from experimentally iron overloaded mice. 70 BALB/c mice received intraperitonial injections of iron-sucrose. The mice were then divided into 8 groups and were orally given hydroxyurea, deferiprone or deferasirox alone and their combinations for 4 months. CBC, serum-ferritin, TBARS, sTfr and hepcidin were evaluated before and after iron overload and subsequently after 4 months of drug therapy. All animals were then killed. Iron staining of the heart and liver tissue was done using Perl’s Prussian Blue stain. Dry weight of iron in the heart and liver was determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Increased serum-ferritin, TBARS, hepcidin and dry weight of iron in the liver and heart showed a significant reduction in groups treated with iron chelators with maximum reduction in the group treated with a combination of deferiprone, deferasirox and hydroxyurea. Thus hydroxyurea proves its role in reducing iron from iron overloaded mice. The iron chelating effect of these drugs can also be increased if given in combination.
PMCID: PMC3857323  PMID: 24349400
In iron overload conditions, plasma contains non-transferrin bound iron species, collectively referred to as plasma NTBI. These include iron-citrate species, some of which are protein bound. Because NTBI is taken into tissues susceptible to iron loading, its removal by chelation is desirable but only partial using standard deferoxamine (DFO) therapy. Speciation plots suggest that, at clinically achievable concentrations, deferiprone (DFP) will shuttle iron onto DFO to form feroxamine (FO), but whether NTBI chelation is enhanced to therapeutically relevant rates is unknown. As FO is highly stable, kinetic measurements of FO formation by HPLC or by stopped-flow spectrometry is achievable. In serum from thalassemia major patients, supplemented with 10µM DFO, FO formation paralleled NTBI removal but never exceeded 50% of potentially available NTBI: approximately one third of NTBI was chelated rapidly but only 15% of the remainder at 20h. Addition of DFP increased the magnitude of the slower component, with increments in FO formation equivalent to complete NTBI removal by 8h. This shuttling effect was absent in serum from healthy control subjects, indicating no transferrin iron removal. Studies with iron-citrate solutions also showed biphasic chelation by DFO, the slow component being accelerated by the addition of DFP, with optimal enhancement at 30µM. Physiological concentrations of albumin also enhanced DFO chelation from iron citrate, and co-addition of DFP further accelerated this effect. We conclude that at clinically relevant concentrations, DFP enhances plasma NTBI chelation with DFO by rapidly accessing and shuttling NTBI fractions that are otherwise only slowly available to DFO.
PMCID: PMC2927975  PMID: 20627190
19.  Zinc concentration in patients with iron overload receiving oral iron chelator 1,2-dimethyl-3-hydroxypyrid-4-one or desferrioxamine. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1994;47(7):657-660.
AIMS--To determine the changes in serum zinc concentration and the extent of urinary zinc excretion in patients with iron overload receiving the oral iron chelator 1,2-dimethyl-3-hydroxypyrid-4-one (L1) or desferrioxamine (DFX), and to correlate these results with blood glucose concentration. METHODS--Serum zinc and ferritin concentrations, urinary zinc and iron excretion were regularly assayed in 39 patients and the glucose tolerance test (GTT) was performed in each patient. Patients were segregated according to their GTT into normal, diabetic, and those with an abnormal GTT. The mean of L1- or DFX associated urinary zinc excretion for each group was determined and compared with the other two groups and with normal value. L1 associated urinary zinc excretion was also compared with L1 dose, serum ferritin values, and urinary iron excretion. RESULTS--Both DFX and L1 were associated with a significantly increased urinary zinc excretion (15.1 (7.3) mumol/24 hours, 11.1 (6.0) mumol/24 hours, respectively) compared with normal subjects. In patients receiving DFX this increase only occurred in patients with diabetes mellitus. Both diabetic and non-diabetic patients receiving L1 treatment excreted more zinc than normal. Diabetic patients receiving L1 or DFX excreted more zinc than non-diabetics receiving the same treatment. No correlation was found between urinary zinc excretion and L1 dose or patients' serum ferritin concentrations. In seven patients receiving long term L1 treatment a fall in serum zinc was observed from an initial 13.6 (1.6) mumol/l to a final 9.6 (0.8) mumol/l. In one patient this was associated with symptoms of dry skin and itchy skin patches requiring treatment with oral zinc sulphate. CONCLUSIONS--In contrast to DFX, L1 treatment is associated with increased zinc loss. This, however, is modest and does not lead in most patients to subnormal serum zinc concentrations. In a few patients whose negative zinc balance may give rise to symptoms, zinc supplementation rapidly corrects the deficit.
PMCID: PMC502110  PMID: 8089225
20.  A randomised comparison of deferasirox versus deferoxamine for the treatment of transfusional iron overload in sickle cell disease 
British Journal of Haematology  2007;136(3):501-508.
Deferasirox is a once-daily, oral iron chelator developed for treating transfusional iron overload. Preclinical studies indicated that the kidney was a potential target organ of toxicity. As patients with sickle cell disease often have abnormal baseline renal function, the primary objective of this randomised, open-label, phase II trial was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of deferasirox in comparison with deferoxamine in this population. Assessment of efficacy, as measured by change in liver iron concentration (LIC) using biosusceptometry, was a secondary objective. A total of 195 adult and paediatric patients received deferasirox (n = 132) or deferoxamine (n = 63). Adverse events most commonly associated with deferasirox were mild, including transient nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and skin rash. Abnormal laboratory studies with deferasirox were occasionally associated with mild non-progressive increases in serum creatinine and reversible elevations in liver function tests. Discontinuation rates from deferasirox (11·4%) and deferoxamine (11·1%) were similar. Over 1 year, similar dose-dependent LIC reductions were observed with deferasirox and deferoxamine. Once-daily oral deferasirox has acceptable tolerability and appears to have similar efficacy to deferoxamine in reducing iron burden in transfused patients with sickle cell disease.
PMCID: PMC1974786  PMID: 17233848
deferasirox; ICL670; Exjade; sickle cell disease; iron overload
21.  Deferoxamine reverses radiation induced hypovascularity during bone regeneration & repair in the murine mandible 
Bone  2012;50(5):1184-1187.
Deferoxamine (DFO) is an iron-chelating agent that has also been shown to increase angiogenesis. We hypothesize that the angiogenic properties of DFO will improve bone regeneration in distraction osteogenesis (DO) after x-ray radiation therapy (XRT) by restoring the vascularity around the distraction site.
Material & Methods
Three groups of Sprague-Dawley rats underwent distraction of the left mandible. Two groups received pre-operative fractionated XRT, and one of these groups was treated with DFO during distraction. After consolidation, the animals were perfused and imaged with microCT to calculate vascular radiomorphometrics.
Radiation inflicted a severe diminution in the vascular metrics of the distracted regenerate and consequently led to poor clinical outcome. The DFO treated group revealed improved DO bone regeneration with a substantial restoration and proliferation of vascularity.
This set of experiments quantitatively demonstrates the ability of DFO to temper the anti-angiogenic effect of XRT in mandibular DO. These exciting results suggest that DFO may be a viable treatment option aimed at mitigating the damaging effects of XRT on new bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3322244  PMID: 22314387
distraction osteogenesis; angiogenesis; angiogenesis inducing agents; head and neck cancer; postirradiation
22.  Objectives and Methods of Iron Chelation Therapy 
Recent developments in the understanding of the molecular control of iron homeostasis provided novel insights into the mechanisms responsible for normal iron balance. However in chronic anemias associated with iron overload, such mechanisms are no longer sufficient to offer protection from iron toxicity, and iron chelating therapy is the only method available for preventing early death caused mainly by myocardial and hepatic damage. Today, long-term deferoxamine (DFO) therapy is an integral part of the management of thalassemia and other transfusion-dependent anemias, with a major impact on well-being and survival. However, the high cost and rigorous requirements of DFO therapy, and the significant toxicity of deferiprone underline the need for the continued development of new and improved orally effective iron chelators. Within recent years more than one thousand candidate compounds have been screened in animal models. The most outstanding of these compounds include deferiprone (L1); pyridoxal isonicotinoyl hydrazone (PIH) and; bishydroxy- phenyl thiazole. Deferiprone has been used extensively as a substitute for DFO in clinical trials involving hundreds of patients. However, L1 treatment alone fails to achieve a negative iron balance in a substantial proportion of subjects. Deferiprone is less effective than DFO and its potential hepatotoxicity is an issue of current controversy. A new orally effective iron chelator should not necessarily be regarded as one displacing the presently accepted and highly effective parenteral drug DFO. Rather, it could be employed to extend the scope of iron chelating strategies in a manner analogous with the combined use of medications in the management of other conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. Coadministration or alternating use of DFO and a suitable oral chelator may allow a decrease in dosage of both drugs and improve compliance by decreasing the demand on tedious parenteral drug administration. Combined use of DFO and L1 has already been shown to result in successful depletion of iron stores in patients previously failing to respond to single drug therapy, and to lead to improved compliance with treatment. It may also result in a “shuttle effect” between weak intracellular chelators and powerful extracellular chelators or exploit the entero-hepatic cycle to promote fecal iron excretion. All of these innovative ways of chelator usage are now awaiting evaluation in experimental models and in the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC2267048  PMID: 18365050
23.  Efficacy and safety of deferasirox, an oral iron chelator, in heavily iron-overloaded patients with β-thalassaemia: the ESCALATOR study 
European Journal of Haematology  2009;82(6):458-465.
Many patients with transfusional iron overload are at risk for progressive organ dysfunction and early death and poor compliance with older chelation therapies is believed to be a major contributing factor. Phase II/III studies have shown that oral deferasirox 20–30 mg/kg/d reduces iron burden, depending on transfusional iron intake.
The prospective, open-label, 1-yr ESCALATOR study in the Middle East was designed to evaluate once-daily deferasirox in patients ≥2 yr with β-thalassaemia major and iron overload who were previously chelated with deferoxamine and/or deferiprone. Most patients began treatment with deferasirox 20 mg/kg/d; doses were adjusted in response to markers of over- or under-chelation. The primary endpoint was treatment success, defined as a reduction in liver iron concentration (LIC) of ≥3 mg Fe/g dry weight (dw) if baseline LIC was ≥10 mg Fe/g dw, or final LIC of 1–7 mg Fe/g dw for patients with baseline LIC of 2 to <10 mg Fe/g dw.
Overall, 233/237 enrolled patients completed 1 yr’s treatment. Mean baseline LIC was 18.0 ± 9.1 mg Fe/g dw, while median serum ferritin was 3356 ng/mL. After 1 yr’s deferasirox treatment, the intent-to-treat population experienced a significant treatment success rate of 57.0% (P = 0.016) and a mean reduction in LIC of 3.4 mg Fe/g dw. Changes in serum ferritin appeared to parallel dose increases at around 24 wk. Most patients (78.1%) underwent dose increases above 20 mg/kg/d, primarily to 30 mg/kg/d. Drug-related adverse events were mostly mild to moderate and resolved without discontinuing treatment.
The results of the ESCALATOR study in primarily heavily iron-overloaded patients confirm previous observations in patients with β-thalassaemia, highlighting the importance of timely deferasirox dose adjustments based on serum ferritin levels and transfusional iron intake to ensure patients achieve their therapeutic goal of maintenance or reduction in iron burden.
PMCID: PMC2730551  PMID: 19187278
iron chelation; deferasirox; β-thalassaemia; transfusional iron overload
24.  Treatment of heart failure in adults with thalassemia major: response in patients randomised to deferoxamine with or without deferiprone 
Established heart failure in thalassaemia major has a poor prognosis and optimal management remains unclear.
A 1 year prospective study comparing deferoxamine (DFO) monotherapy or when combined with deferiprone (DFP) for patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) <56% was conducted by the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network (TCRN). All patients received DFO at 50–60 mg/kg 12–24 hr/day sc or iv 7 times weekly, combined with either DFP 75 at mg/kg/day (combination arm) or placebo (DFO monotherapy arm). The primary endpoint was the change in LVEF by CMR.
Improvement in LVEF was significant in both study arms at 6 and 12 months (p = 0.04), normalizing ventricular function in 9/16 evaluable patients. With combination therapy, the LVEF increased from 49.9% to 55.2% (+5.3% p = 0.04; n = 10) at 6 months and to 58.3% at 12 months (+8.4% p = 0.04; n = 7). With DFO monotherapy, the LVEF increased from 52.8% to 55.7% (+2.9% p = 0.04; n = 6) at 6 months and to 56.9% at 12 months (+4.1% p = 0.04; n = 4). The LVEF trend did not reach statistical difference between study arms (p = 0.89). In 2 patients on DFO monotherapy during the study and in 1 patient on combined therapy during follow up, heart failure deteriorated fatally. The study was originally powered for 86 participants to determine a 5% difference in LVEF improvement between treatments. The study was prematurely terminated due to slow recruitment and with the achieved sample size of 20 patients there was 80% power to detect an 8.6% difference in EF, which was not demonstrated. Myocardial T2* improved in both arms (combination +1.9 ± 1.6 ms p = 0.04; and DFO monotherapy +1.9 ± 1.4 ms p = 0.04), but with no significant difference between treatments (p = 0.65). Liver iron (p = 0.03) and ferritin (p < 0.001) both decreased significantly in only the combination group.
Both treatments significantly improved LVEF and myocardial T2*. Although this is the largest and only randomized study in patients with LV decompensation, further prospective evaluation is needed to identify optimal chelation management in these high-risk patients.
PMCID: PMC3669105  PMID: 23688265
Thalassemia; Heart failure; Deferoxamine; Deferiprone; Combination
25.  Co-Administration of Silymarin and Deferoxamine against Kidney, Liver and Heart Iron Deposition in Male Iron Overload Rat Model 
Tissue iron deposition may disturb functions of the organs. In many diseases like thalassemia, the patients suffer from iron deposition in kidney and heart tissues. Deferoxamine (DF) is a synthetic iron chelator and silymarin (SM) is an antioxidant and also a candidate for iron chelating. This study was designed to investigate the effect of DF and SM combination against kidney and heart iron deposition in an iron overload rat model.
Male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to 5 groups. The iron overloading was performed by iron dextran 100 mg/kg/day every other day during 2 weeks and in the 3rd week, iron dextran was discontinued and the animals were treated daily with combination of SM (200 mg/kg/day, i.p.) and DF (50 mg/kg/day, i.p.) (group 1), SM (group 2), DF (group 3) and saline (group 4). Group 5 received saline during the experiment. Finally, blood samples were obtained and kidney, heart and liver were immediately removed and prepared for histopathological procedures.
The results indicated no significant difference in kidney function and endothelial function biomarkers between the groups. However, combination of SM and DF did not attenuate the iron deposition in the kidney, liver and heart. DF alone, rather than DF and SM combination, significantly reduced the serum level of malondialdehyde (P < 0.05). Co-administration of SM and DF significantly increased the serum level of ferritin (P < 0.05).
DF and SM may be potentially considered as iron chelators. However, combination of these two agents did not provide a protective effect against kidney, liver and heart iron deposition.
PMCID: PMC3915463  PMID: 24555000
Deferoxamine; heart; iron deposition; kidney; liver; silymarin

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