Deferasirox is a once-daily, oral iron chelator that is widely used in the management of patients with transfusional hemosiderosis. Several Phase II trials along with their respective extension studies as well as a Phase III trial have established the efficacy and safety of this novel agent in transfusion-dependent patients with β-thalassemia, sickle-cell disease and bone marrow-failure syndromes, including myelodysplastic syndrome and aplastic anemia. Data from various clinical trials show that a deferasirox dose of 20 mg/kg/day stabilizes serum ferritin levels and liver iron concentration, while a dose of 30–40 mg/kg/day reduces these parameters and achieves negative iron balance in red cell transfusion-dependent patients with iron overload. Across various pivotal clinical trials, deferasirox was well tolerated, with the most common adverse events being gastrointestinal disturbances, skin rash, nonprogressive increases in serum creatinine, and elevations in liver enzyme levels. Longer-term extension studies have also confirmed the efficacy and safety of deferasirox. However, it is essential that patients on deferasirox therapy are monitored regularly to ensure timely management for any adverse events that may occur with long-term therapy.
deferasirox; iron overload; thalassemia; sickle-cell disease; myelodysplastic syndrome
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of the oral iron chelator deferasirox in treating transfusional hemosiderosis in a cohort of Indian children with thalassemia major with high iron load.
Materials and Methods:
The first 50 children (age 2-18 yrs) with thalassemia major to commence deferasirox at our center were enrolled and followed up for a period of 36 months between April 2008 and March 2011. The dose of deferasirox was determined by their baseline serum ferritin and was adjusted to a maximum of 40 mg/kg/day depending on response. Ferritin levels, SGOT, SGPT, serum creatinine and urine albumin were regularly monitored.
Of the 50 patients, 76% documented a significant decline in serum ferritin (P<0.05). Seven (14%) patients had a stable ferritin whilst 5 patients (10%) documented an increase over the study period. The mean serum ferritin at baseline, 12, 24 and 36 months was 4354, 3260, 3290 and 3042, respectively (P<0.05). The median serum ferritin at the same time points was 3555, 2810, 2079 and 2271, respectively (P<0.05). No severe toxicity was seen.
Deferasirox, when given in doses ≥30 mg/kg, was found to be an effective and safe drug in reducing transfusional hemosiderosis. Thirty five (70%) needed dose escalation upto 40 mg/kg/day. Fifteen (30%), however did not achieve a negative iron balance despite maximally permissible doses.
Deferasirox; serum ferritin; thalassemia major
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.
deferasirox; ICL670; Exjade; sickle cell disease; iron overload
It is widely assumed that, at matched transfusional iron-loading rates, responses to chelation therapy are similar, irrespective of the underlying condition. However, data are limited for rare transfusion-dependent anaemias, and it remains to be elucidated if response differs, depending on whether the anaemia has a primary haemolytic or production mechanism.
The efficacy and safety of deferasirox (Exjade®) in rare transfusion-dependent anaemias were evaluated over 1 yr, with change in serum ferritin as the primary efficacy endpoint. Initial deferasirox doses were 10–30 mg/kg/d, depending on transfusion requirements; 34 patients had production anaemias, and 23 had haemolytic anaemias.
Patients with production anaemias or haemolytic anaemias had comparable transfusional iron-loading rates (0.31 vs. 0.30 mL red blood cells/kg/d), mean deferasirox dosing (19.3 vs. 19.0 mg/kg/d) and baseline median serum ferritin (2926 vs. 2682 ng/mL). Baseline labile plasma iron (LPI) levels correlated significantly with the transfusional iron-loading rates and with serum ferritin levels in both cohorts. Reductions in median serum ferritin levels were initially faster in the production than the haemolytic anaemias, but at 1 yr, similar significant reductions of 940 and 617 ng/mL were attained, respectively (−26.0% overall). Mean LPI decreased significantly in patients with production (P < 0.0001) and haemolytic (P = 0.037) anaemias after the first dose and was maintained at normal mean levels (<0.4 μm) subsequently. The most common drug-related, investigator-assessed adverse events were diarrhoea (n = 16) and nausea (n = 12).
At matched transfusional iron-loading rates, the responses of rare transfusion-dependent anaemias to deferasirox are similar at 1 yr, irrespective of the underlying pathogenic mechanism.
rare anaemias; iron overload; iron chelation therapy; serum ferritin; safety
Although blood transfusions are important for patients with anemia, chronic transfusions inevitably lead to iron overload as humans cannot actively remove excess iron. The cumulative effects of iron overload lead to significant morbidity and mortality, if untreated. Although the current reference standard iron chelator deferoxamine has been used clinically for over four decades, its effectiveness is limited by a demanding therapeutic regimen that leads to poor compliance. Deferasirox (Exjade®, ICL670, Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland) is a once-daily, oral iron chelator approved for the treatment of transfusional iron overload in adult and pediatric patients. The efficacy and safety of deferasirox have been established in a comprehensive clinical development program involving patients with various transfusion-dependent anemias. Deferasirox has a dose-dependent effect on iron burden, and is as efficacious as deferoxamine at comparable therapeutic doses. Deferasirox therapy can be tailored to a patient’s needs, as response is related to both dose and iron intake. Since deferasirox has a long half-life and is present in the plasma for 24 hours with once-daily dosing, it is unique in providing constant chelation coverage with a single dose. The availability of this convenient, effective, and well tolerated therapy represents a significant advance in the management of transfusional iron overload.
Exjade; deferasirox; transfusional iron overload; effective
Regular blood transfusions as supportive care for patients with chronic anemia inevitably lead to iron overload as humans cannot actively remove excess iron. The cumulative effects of iron overload cause significant morbidity and mortality if not effectively treated with chelation therapy. Based on a comprehensive clinical development program, the once-daily, oral iron chelator deferasirox (Exjade®) is approved for the treatment of transfusional iron overload in adult and pediatric patients with various transfusion-dependent anemias, including β-thalassemia and the myelodysplastic syndromes. Deferasirox dose should be titrated for each individual patient based on transfusional iron intake, current iron burden and whether the goal is to decrease or maintain body iron levels. Doses of >30 mg/kg/day have been shown to be effective with a safety profile consistent with that observed at doses <30 mg/kg/day. Recent data have highlighted the ability of deferasirox to decrease cardiac iron levels and to prevent the accumulation of iron in the heart. The long-term efficacy and safety of deferasirox for up to 5 years of treatment have now been established. The availability of this effective and generally well tolerated oral therapy represents a significant advance in the management of transfusional iron overload.
deferasirox; Exjade; oral; iron chelation; iron overload; cardiac iron
Viral hepatitis is common among β-thalassemia major (BTM) children in Pakistan. Transfusional iron overload in BTM is usually monitored by serum ferritin. But its levels are falsely raised in viral hepatitis and do not reflect the true iron body burden in thalassemic patients. The objective of the study was to develop a test for monitoring iron overload in ‘Hepatitis B&C’ positive BTM patients by urinary iron excretion (UIE) after oral deferiprone chelation as compared to serum ferritin. We recruited 130 BTM patients from the registry of Thalassaemia centre at Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The patients were grouped into Hepatitis positive and Hepatitis negative based on ELISAtest. Serum ferritin levels were analyzed by kit on Access II. Each patient was given 75mg/kg of deferiprone at morning. Baseline UIE before deferiprone, and 4, 8 12 hours (hrs) UIE after deferiprone were analyzed on Selectra E. One hundred and thirty BTM patients aged 3 to 23 years comprising of Hepatitis positive (n=69) and Hepatitis negative (n=61) participated in the study. Hepatitis positive thalassemic patients had significantly high serum ferritin median (IQ) 4349 (2782-5927) μg/Lthan 3338 (2189-5506) μg/Lin the Hepatitis negative (p=0.001). We did not find any significant change in UIE at 4, 8, and 12 hours between two groups after Deferiprone intake (p=NS). We observed significant positive correlation between serum ferritin and 4 hours UIE in Hepatitis negative patients (r=0.57; p=0.01) but not in the Hepatitis positive patients (r=0.16; p=NS). Deferiprone challenge with measurement of 4 hours UIE is cost effective and non-invasive test rather than serum ferritin for monitoring iron overload in Hepatitis’ positive BTM patients.
Thalassemia major; iron overload; hepatitis; serum ferritin; deferiprone challenge test; monitoring of iron overload; deferiprone challenge test
The 1-year THALASSA study enrolled 166 patients with various non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) syndromes, degrees of iron burden and patient characteristics, and demonstrated the overall efficacy and safety of deferasirox in reducing liver iron concentration (LIC) in these patients. Here, reduction in LIC with deferasirox 5 and 10 mg/kg/day starting dose groups is shown to be consistent across the following patient subgroups—baseline LIC/serum ferritin, age, gender, race, splenectomy (yes/no), and underlying NTDT syndrome (β-thalassemia intermedia, HbE/β-thalassemia or α-thalassemia). These analyses also evaluated deferasirox dosing strategies for patients with NTDT. Greater reductions in LIC were achieved in patients dose-escalated at Week 24 from deferasirox 10 mg/kg/day starting dose to 20 mg/kg/day. Patients who received an average actual dose of deferasirox >12.5–≤17.5 mg/kg/day achieved a greater LIC decrease compared with the ≥7.5–≤12.5 mg/kg/day and >0–<7.5 mg/kg/day subgroups, demonstrating a dose–response efficacy. LIC reduction across patient subgroups was generally consistent with the primary efficacy analysis with a similar safety profile. Am. J. Hematol. 88:503–506, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Beta-thalassemia major is an autosomal recessive disease causing severe and hemolytic anemia, which begins about 2-6 months after birth. Iron overload, which arises from recurrent transfusion and ineffective erythropoiesis, can enhance oxidative stress in thalassemic patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the serum total antioxidant capacity of patients with ß-Thalassemia major.
Sixty six Iranian patients with β-thalassemia major and 66 age-gender matched controls were evaluated for serum total antioxidant status (TAS), uric acid (UA), bilirubin and albumin. In addition, serum ferritin and transaminases were recorded in these subjects.
Significant increases of TAS, UA, and bilirubin were observed in the patient group, compared with the control group (P<0.01). Mean TAS and bilirubin in male patients was higher than in females (P=0.005 and P=0.008, respectively). There was also direct correlation between TAS and albumin (P<0.001), bilirubin (P<0.001) and UA (P=0.002).
Endogenous antioxidants such as ferritin, UA and bilirubin can result in increased level of TAS in the patients with Beta-thalassemia major. Compensatory excess of TAS to oxidative stress could also be the reason for difference between our findings and previous studies.
β-Thalassemia Major; Oxidative Stress; Antioxidants; Ferritin; Uric Acid
Transfusional hemosiderosis is a frequent complication in patients with transfusion dependent chronic diseases such as thalassemias and severe type of sickle cell diseases. As there are no physiological mechanisms to excrete the iron contained in transfused red cells (1 unit of blood contains approximately 200 mg of iron) the excess of iron is stored in various organs. Cardiomyopathy is the most severe complication covering more than 70% of the causes of death of thalassemic patients. Although the current reference standard iron chelator deferoxamine (DFO) has been used clinically for over four decades, its effectiveness is limited by a demanding therapeutic regimen that leads to poor compliance. Despite poor compliance, because of the inconvenience of subcutaneous infusion, DFO improved considerably the survival and quality of life of patients with thalassemia. Deferiprone since 1998 and Deferasirox since 2005 were licensed for clinical use. The oral chelators have a better compliance because of oral use, a comparable efficacy to DFO in iron excretion and probably a better penetration to myocardial cells. Considerable increase in iron excretion was documented with combination therapy of DFO and Deferiprone. The proper use of the three chelators will improve the prevention and treatment of iron overload, it will reduce complications, and improve survival and quality of life of transfused patients.
Iron chelation therapy (ICT) has been applied for the patients with iron overload-associated liver dysfunction since it is one of the causes of death in patients with intractable hematological diseases requiring multiple red blood cell transfusions. Recently, deferasirox (DSX), a novel, once-daily oral iron chelator, was demonstrated to have similar efficacy to the conventional continuous infusion of deferoxamine on a decrease in serum ferritin (SF) level in heavily transfused patients. We show three cases of transfusion-mediated iron-overloaded patients with an elevated serum alanine aminotransaminase (ALT). All three patients who received the ICT with DSX showed a decrease in ALT level in association with a decrease in SF level. It is suggested that DSX therapy could be considered to expect the improvement of liver damage for iron-overloaded patients with an abnormal ALT level.
Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is characterized by increased intestinal iron absorption that may result in iron overload. Although phlebotomy is widely practiced, it is poorly tolerated or contraindicated in patients with anemias, severe heart disease, or poor venous access, and compliance can vary. The once-daily, oral iron chelator, deferasirox (Exjade) may provide an alternative treatment option. Patients with HH carrying the HFE gene who were homozygous for the Cys282Tyr mutation, serum ferritin levels of 300-2000 ng/mL, transferrin saturation ≥45%, and no known history of cirrhosis were enrolled in this dose-escalation study to characterize the safety and efficacy of deferasirox, comprising a core and an extension phase (each 24 weeks). Forty-nine patients were enrolled and received starting deferasirox doses of 5 (n = 11), 10 (n = 15), or 15 (n = 23) mg/kg/day. Adverse events were generally dose-dependent, the most common being diarrhea, headache, and nausea (n = 18, n = 10, and n = 8 in the core and n = 1, n = 1, and n = 0 in the extension, respectively). More patients in the 15 mg/kg/day than in the 5 or 10 mg/kg/day cohorts experienced increases in alanine aminotransferase and serum creatinine levels during the 48-week treatment period; six patients had alanine aminotransferase >3× baseline and greater than the upper limit of normal range, and eight patients had serum creatinine >33% above baseline and greater than upper limit of normal on two consecutive occasions. After receiving deferasirox for 48 weeks, median serum ferritin levels decreased by 63.5%, 74.8%, and 74.1% in the 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg/day cohorts, respectively. In all cohorts, median serum ferritin decreased to <250 ng/mL. Conclusion: Deferasirox doses of 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg/day can reduce iron burden in patients with HH. Based on the safety and efficacy results, starting deferasirox at 10 mg/kg/day appears to be most appropriate for further study in this patient population. (Hepatology 2010)
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.
deferasirox; Exjade; oral iron chelator; sickle cell disease; iron overload
The effect of deferasirox dosing tailored for iron burden and iron loading based on liver iron concentration (LIC) was assessed over 1 year in less versus more heavily iron-overloaded patients in a substudy of the Evaluation of Patients’ Iron Chelation with Exjade®. Deferasirox starting dose was 10–30 mg/kg/day, depending on blood transfusion frequency, with recommended dose adjustments every 3 months. Therapeutic goals were LIC maintenance or reduction in patients with baseline LIC <7 or ≥7 mg Fe/g dry weight (dw), respectively. Changes in LIC (R2-magnetic resonance imaging) and serum ferritin after 1 year were assessed. Adverse events (AEs) and laboratory parameters were monitored throughout. Of 374 patients, 71 and 303 had baseline LIC <7 and ≥7 mg Fe/g dw, respectively; mean deferasirox doses were 20.7 and 27.1 mg/kg/day (overall average time to dose increase, 24 weeks). At 1 year, mean LIC and median serum ferritin levels were maintained in the low-iron cohort (−0.02 ± 2.4 mg Fe/g dw, −57 ng/mL; P = not significant) and significantly decreased in the high-iron cohort (−6.1 ± 9.1 mg Fe/g dw, −830 ng/mL; P < 0.0001). Drug-related gastrointestinal AEs, mostly mild to moderate, were more frequently reported in the <7 versus ≥7 mg Fe/g dw cohort (39.4 versus 20.8 %; P = 0.001) and were not confounded by diagnosis, dosing, ethnicity, or hepatitis B and/or C history. Reported serum creatinine increases did not increase in low- versus high-iron cohort patients. Deferasirox doses of 20 mg/kg/day maintained LIC <7 mg Fe/g dw and doses of 30 mg/kg/day were required for net iron reduction in the high-iron cohort, with clinically manageable safety profiles. The higher incidence of gastrointestinal AEs at lower iron burdens requires further investigation.
Iron overload; Iron chelation therapy; Deferasirox; Liver iron concentration
Thalassemia is a genetic disorder of hemoglobin synthesis, which requires regular blood transfusion therapy leading to iron overload in the body tissues. Transfusional hemosiderosis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in these patients. Reliable methods for evaluation of iron overload are either invasive, costly or remotely available. Therefore, a simple technique of monitoring iron overload is desirable.
To know whether iron can be demonstrated in exfoliated buccal cells of β-thalassemia major patients using Perls’ Prussian blue method and to correlate it with serum ferritin levels.
Materials and Methods:
Smears were obtained from buccal mucosa of 60 randomly selected β-thalassemia major patients and 30 healthy subjects as controls. Smears were stained with Perls’ Prussian blue method. Blood samples were taken for estimation of serum ferritin levels.
Chi-square, Mann-Whitney, and Spearman Rank's Correlation tests.
Perls’ positivity was observed in 71.7% of thalassemic patients with a moderately positive correlation to serum ferritin levels.
Oral exfoliative cytology can be a useful tool in demonstration of iron overload in thalassemic patients, however, further research in this field in the direction of quantification of these procedures is required, which can establish this non-invasive procedure as an ideal screening tool.
Iron overload; oral exfoliative cytology; Perls’ Prussian blue staining; thalassemia
Noninvasive measurement of tissue iron levels can be assessed using T2* magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify and monitor patients with iron overload. This study monitored cardiac siderosis using T2* MRI in a cohort of 19 heavily iron-overloaded patients with β-thalassemia major receiving iron chelation therapy with deferasirox over an 18-month period. Overall, deferasirox therapy significantly improved mean ± standard deviation cardiac T2* from a baseline of 17.2 ± 10.8 to 21.5 ± 12.8 ms (+25.0%; P = 0.02). A concomitant reduction in median serum ferritin from a baseline of 5,497 to 4,235 ng/mL (−23.0%; P = 0.001), and mean liver iron concentration from 24.2 ± 9.0 to 17.6 ± 12.9 mg Fe/g dry weight (−27.1%; P = 0.01) was also seen. Improvements were seen in patients with various degrees of cardiac siderosis, including those patients with a baseline cardiac T2* of <10 ms, indicative of high cardiac iron burden. These findings therefore support previous observations that deferasirox is effective in the removal of myocardial iron with concomitant reduction in total body iron.
Iron overload; Iron chelation; β-thalassemia; T2* magnetic resonance imaging; Myocardial iron
EXtend and eXjange were prospective, 1-yr, non-interventional, observational, multicentre studies that investigated deferasirox, a once-daily oral iron chelator, in iron-overloaded chelation-naïve and prechelated patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), respectively, treated in the daily-routine setting of office-based physicians. No inclusion or exclusion criteria or additional monitoring procedures were applied. Deferasirox was administered as recommended in the European Summary of Product Characteristics. Haematological parameters and adverse events (AEs) were collected at two-monthly intervals. Data from 123 chelation-naïve patients with MDS (mean age 70.4 yrs) with median baseline serum ferritin level of 2679 (range 184–16 500) ng/mL, and 44 prechelated patients with MDS (mean age 69.6 yrs) with median baseline serum ferritin level of 2442 (range 521–8565) ng/mL, were assessed. The mean prescribed daily dose of deferasirox at the first visit was 15.7 and 18.7 mg/kg/d, respectively. Treatment with deferasirox produced a significant reduction in median serum ferritin levels in chelation-naïve patients with MDS from 2679 to 2000 ng/mL (P = 0.0002) and a pronounced decrease in prechelated patients with MDS from 2442 to 2077 ng/mL (P = 0.06). The most common drug-related AEs were gastrointestinal, increased serum creatinine levels and rash. These studies demonstrate that deferasirox used in physicians’ medical practices is effective in managing iron burden in transfusion-dependent patients with MDS.
deferasirox; oral; myelodysplastic syndromes; iron overload; iron chelation; serum ferritin; safety
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.
iron chelation; deferasirox; β-thalassaemia; transfusional iron overload
Iron overload is an important issue in the state of thalassemic patients due to the harmful effect of high concentration of iron deposited in different tissues in human body including endocrine glands. In the present work, an attempt is carried out to estimate the effect of iron overload in thalassemic patients on the function of endocrine glands through the estimation of their ability to secrete adequate amounts of certain hormones.
Materials and Methods:
Seventy eight male children with beta-thalassemia, in the age-group of 4–11 years, were enrolled for this research. These children were being treated with frequent transfusions and long-term iron chelation therapy. Thirty age and sex matched children without thalassemia constituted the control group. Ferritin and different hormones were estimated by ELISA technique.
The results showed a mild reduction in the function of endocrine glands through the decrease in the level of some hormones. These changes due mainly to the hypoxia and precipitation of iron in certain glands and overlapping with the synthesis or secretion of the hormones.
There is a different hormonal disturbances in beta thalassemia patients. Reduction of total body iron store is an important goal of the treatment of thalassemia and measuring the hormones concentration is necessary for the follow up of the thalassemic patients especially during puberty.
Glands; hormones; iron overload; thalassemia
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.
Patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) often develop iron overload that requires chelation to levels below the threshold associated with complications. This can take several years in patients with high iron burden, highlighting the value of long-term chelation data. Here, we report the 1-year extension of the THALASSA trial assessing deferasirox in NTDT; patients continued with deferasirox or crossed from placebo to deferasirox. Of 133 patients entering extension, 130 completed. Liver iron concentration (LIC) continued to decrease with deferasirox over 2 years; mean change was −7.14 mg Fe/g dry weight (dw) (mean dose 9.8 ± 3.6 mg/kg/day). In patients originally randomized to placebo, whose LIC had increased by the end of the core study, LIC decreased in the extension with deferasirox with a mean change of −6.66 mg Fe/g dw (baseline to month 24; mean dose in extension 13.7 ± 4.6 mg/kg/day). Of 166 patients enrolled, 64 (38.6 %) and 24 (14.5 %) patients achieved LIC <5 and <3 mg Fe/g dw by the end of the study, respectively. Mean LIC reduction was greatest in patients with the highest pretreatment LIC. Deferasirox progressively decreases iron overload over 2 years in NTDT patients with both low and high LIC. Safety profile of deferasirox over 2 years was consistent with that in the core study.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00277-013-1808-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Iron overload; Iron chelation; Non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia; Deferasirox
Transfusional iron overload in patients with chronic anemias can result in multiple organ failure. Experience in the management of iron overload in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes is limited, as many do not receive chelation therapy due to short-life expectancy and the difficulties associated with the administration of the current reference standard chelator, deferoxamine. There have, however, been some reports of reduced transfusion requirement associated with chelation therapy in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and myelofibrosis. Here, we discuss a patient with primary myelofibrosis and related transfusion-dependent anemia who received chelation therapy with the once-daily oral iron chelator, deferasirox. In addition to the reduced iron levels, the patient demonstrated an unexpected reduction in blood transfusion requirement, ultimately resulting in long-lasting transfusion-free survival.
myelofibrosis; iron overload; chelation
This 1-yr prospective phase II trial evaluated the efficacy of deferasirox in regularly transfused patients aged 3–81 yrs with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS; n = 47), Diamond–Blackfan anaemia (DBA; n = 30), other rare anaemias (n = 22) or β-thalassaemia (n = 85). Dosage was determined by baseline liver iron concentration (LIC).
In patients with baseline LIC ≥7 mg Fe/g dry weight, deferasirox initiated at 20 or 30 mg/kg/d produced statistically significant decreases in LIC (P < 0.001); these decreases were greatest in MDS and least in DBA. As chelation efficiency and iron excretion did not differ significantly between disease groups, the differences in LIC changes are consistent with mean transfusional iron intake (least in MDS: 0.28 ± 0.14 mg/kg/d; greatest in DBA: 0.4 ± 0.11 mg/kg/d). Overall, LIC changes were dependent on dose (P < 0.001) and transfusional iron intake (P < 0.01), but not statistically different between disease groups. Changes in serum ferritin and LIC were correlated irrespective of disease group (r = 0.59), supporting the potential use of serum ferritin for monitoring deferasirox therapy. Deferasirox had a safety profile compatible with long-term use. There were no disease-specific safety/tolerability effects: the most common adverse events were gastrointestinal disturbances, skin rash and non-progressive serum creatinine increases.
Deferasirox is effective for reducing iron burden with a defined, clinically manageable safety profile in patients with various transfusion-dependent anaemias. There were no disease-specific adverse events. Once differences in transfusional iron intake are accounted for, dose-dependent changes in LIC or serum ferritin are similar in MDS and other disease groups.
iron chelation; deferasirox; Exjade, ICL670; myelodysplastic syndromes; thalassaemia; Diamond–Blackfan anaemia
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.
Human β-thalassemia major is one of the most prevalent genetic diseases characterized by decrease/absence of β-globin chain production with reduction of erythrocyte number. The main cause of death of treated β-thalassemia major patients with chronic blood transfusion is early cardiac complications that have been attributed to secondary iron overload despite optimal chelation. Herein, we investigated pathophysiological mechanisms of cardiovascular dysfunction in a severe murine model of β-thalassemia from 6 to 15-months of age in the absence of confounding effects related to transfusion. Our longitudinal echocardiography analysis showed that β-thalassemic mice first display a significant increase of cardiac output in response to limited oxygen-carrying erythrocytes that progressed rapidly to left ventricular hypertrophy and structural remodeling. Following this compensated hypertrophy, β-thalassemic mice developed age-dependent deterioration of left ventricular contractility and dysfunction that led toward decompensated heart failure. Consistently, murine β-thalassemic hearts histopathology revealed cardiac remodeling with increased interstitial fibrosis but virtual absence of myocardial iron deposits. Importantly, development of thalassemic cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction independently of iron overload has uncoupled these cardiopathogenic processes. Altogether our study on β-thalassemia major hemoglobinopathy points to two successive phases resulting from severe chronic anemia and from secondarily induced mechanisms as pathophysiologic contributors to thalassemic cardiopathy.