Host iron availability is fundamental to mucormycosis pathogenesis. The combination of liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) and deferasirox iron chelation therapy synergistically improved survival in diabetic mice with mucormycosis. To determine the safety of combination deferasirox plus LAmB therapy for mucormycosis, a multicentred, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trial was conducted.
Twenty patients with proven or probable mucormycosis were randomized to receive treatment with LAmB plus deferasirox (20 mg/kg/day for 14 days) or LAmB plus placebo (NCT00419770, clinicaltrials.gov). The primary analyses were for safety and exploratory efficacy.
Patients in the deferasirox arm (n = 11) were more likely than those in the placebo arm (n = 9) to have active malignancy, neutropenia and corticosteroid therapy, and were less likely to receive concurrent non-study antifungal therapy. Reported adverse events and serious adverse events were similar between the groups. However, death was more frequent in the deferasirox than in the placebo arm at 30 days (45% versus 11%, P = 0.1) and 90 days (82% versus 22%, P = 0.01). Global success (alive, clinically stable, radiographically improved) for the deferasirox arm versus the placebo arm at 30 and 90 days, respectively, was 18% (2/11) versus 67% (6/9) (P = 0.06) and 18% (2/11) versus 56% (5/9) (P = 0.2).
Patients with mucormycosis treated with deferasirox had a higher mortality rate at 90 days. Population imbalances in this small Phase II study make generalizable conclusions difficult. Nevertheless, these data do not support a role for initial, adjunctive deferasirox therapy for mucormycosis.
antifungal; fungal infections; mould infections; combination therapy
The Zygomycetes represent relatively uncommon isolates in the clinical laboratory, reflecting either environmental contaminants or, less commonly, a clinical disease called zygomycosis. There are two orders of Zygomycetes containing organisms that cause human disease, the Mucorales and the Entomophthorales. The majority of human illness is caused by the Mucorales. While disease is most commonly linked to Rhizopus spp., other organisms are also associated with human infection, including Mucor, Rhizomucor, Absidia, Apophysomyces, Saksenaea, Cunninghamella, Cokeromyces, and Syncephalastrum spp. Although Mortierella spp. do cause disease in animals, there is no longer sufficient evidence to suggest that they are true human pathogens. The spores from these molds are transmitted by inhalation, via a variety of percutaneous routes, or by ingestion of spores. Human zygomycosis caused by the Mucorales generally occurs in immunocompromised hosts as opportunistic infections. Host risk factors include diabetes mellitus, neutropenia, sustained immunosuppressive therapy, chronic prednisone use, iron chelation therapy, broad-spectrum antibiotic use, severe malnutrition, and primary breakdown in the integrity of the cutaneous barrier such as trauma, surgical wounds, needle sticks, or burns. Zygomycosis occurs only rarely in immunocompetent hosts. The disease manifestations reflect the mode of transmission, with rhinocerebral and pulmonary diseases being the most common manifestations. Cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and allergic diseases are also seen. The Mucorales are associated with angioinvasive disease, often leading to thrombosis, infarction of involved tissues, and tissue destruction mediated by a number of fungal proteases, lipases, and mycotoxins. If the diagnosis is not made early, dissemination often occurs. Therapy, if it is to be effective, must be started early and requires combinations of antifungal drugs, surgical intervention, and reversal of the underlying risk factors. The Entomophthorales are closely related to the Mucorales on the basis of sexual growth by production of zygospores and by the production of coenocytic hyphae. Despite these similarities, the Entomophthorales and Mucorales have dramatically different gross morphologies, asexual reproductive characteristics, and disease manifestations. In comparison to the floccose aerial mycelium of the Mucorales, the Entomophthorales produce a compact, glabrous mycelium. The asexually produced spores of the Entomophthorales may be passively released or actively expelled into the environment. Human disease with these organisms occurs predominantly in tropical regions, with transmission occurring by implantation of spores via minor trauma such as insect bites or by inhalation of spores into the sinuses. Conidiobolus typically infects mucocutaneous sites to produce sinusitis disease, while Basidiobolus infections occur as subcutaneous mycosis of the trunk and extremities. The Entomophthorales are true pathogens, infecting primarily immunocompetent hosts. They generally do not invade blood vessels and rarely disseminate. Occasional cases of disseminated and angioinvasive disease have recently been described, primarily in immunocompromised patients, suggesting a possible emerging role for this organism as an opportunist.
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
Mucormycosis causes mortality in at least 50% of cases despite current first-line therapies. Clinical and animal data indicate that the presence of elevated available serum iron predisposes the host to mucormycosis. Here we demonstrate that deferasirox, an iron chelator recently approved for use in humans by the US FDA, is a highly effective treatment for mucormycosis. Deferasirox effectively chelated iron from Rhizopus oryzae and demonstrated cidal activity in vitro against 28 of 29 clinical isolates of Mucorales at concentrations well below clinically achievable serum levels. When administered to diabetic ketoacidotic or neutropenic mice with mucormycosis, deferasirox significantly improved survival and decreased tissue fungal burden, with an efficacy similar to that of liposomal amphotericin B. Deferasirox treatment also enhanced the host inflammatory response to mucormycosis. Most importantly, deferasirox synergistically improved survival and reduced tissue fungal burden when combined with liposomal amphotericin B. These data support clinical investigation of adjunctive deferasirox therapy to improve the poor outcomes of mucormycosis with current therapy. As iron availability is integral to the pathogenesis of other infections (e.g., tuberculosis, malaria), broader investigation of deferasirox as an antiinfective treatment is warranted.
Beta thalassemia is an inherited hemoglobin disorder resulting in a severe, chronic anemia requiring life-long blood transfusion that induces iron overload. Silymarin is a flavonoid complex isolated from Silybin marianum with a strong antioxidant activity, inducing an hepatoprotective action, and probably, a protective effect on iron overload. The aim of this work was to determine the silymarin value in improving iron chelation in thalassemic patients with iron overload treated with Deferasirox.
Patients and Methods
This study was conducted on 40 children with beta thalassemia major under follow-up at Hematology Unit, Pediatric Department, Tanta University Hospital with serum ferritin level more than 1000 ng/ml and was divided into two groups. Group IA: Received oral Deferasirox (Exjade) and silymarin for 6 months. Group IB: Received oral Deferasirox (Exjade) and placebo for 6 months and 20 healthy children serving as a control group in the period between April 2011 and August 2012 and was performed after approval from research ethical committee center in Tanta University Hospital and obtaining an informed written parental consent from all participants in this study.
Serum ferritin levels were markedly decreased in group IA cases compared with group IB (P= 0.001).
From this study we concluded that, silymarin in combination with Exjade can be safely used in the treatment of iron-loaded thalassemic patients as it showed good iron chelation with no sign of toxicity.
We recommend extensive multicenter studies in a large number of patients with longer duration of follow-up and more advanced techniques of assessment of iron status in order to clarify the exact role of silymarin in reducing iron overload in children with beta thalassemia.
Increased bone marrow iron levels in patients with haematological malignancies is an independent risk factor for developing invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA), suggesting an important role for iron uptake in the pathogenesis of IPA. We sought to determine the potential for combination therapy with the iron chelator deferasirox + liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) to improve the outcome of murine IPA compared with LAmB monotherapy.
In vitro MIC and minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) values of the iron chelator, deferasirox, for Aspergillus fumigatus were determined by microdilution assay. In addition, we studied the efficacy of deferasirox alone or combined with LAmB in treating immunocompromised mice infected with A. fumigatus via inhalation.
Deferasirox was cidal in vitro against A. fumigatus, with an MIC and MFC of 25 and 50 mg/L, respectively. Deferasirox monotherapy modestly prolonged survival of mice with IPA. Combination deferasirox + LAmB therapy synergistically improved survival and reduced lung fungal burden compared with either monotherapy alone.
Iron chelation therapy with deferasirox alone or in combination with LAmB is effective in treating experimental IPA. Further study of deferasirox is warranted as adjunctive therapy for IPA infections.
Aspergillus fumigatus; LAmB; IPA
Iron is essential for cell proliferation and viability. It has been reported that iron depletion by a chelator inhibits proliferation of some cancer cells. Deferasirox is a new oral iron chelator, and a few reports have described its effects on lymphoma cells. The goal of this study was to determine the anticancer effects of deferasirox in malignant lymphoma cell lines.
Three human malignant lymphoma cell lines (NCI H28:N78, Ramos, and Jiyoye) were treated with deferasirox at final concentrations of 20, 50, or 100 µM. Cell proliferation was evaluated by an MTT assay, and cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed by flow cytometry. Western blot analysis was performed to determine the relative activity of various apoptotic pathways. The role of caspase in deferasirox-induced apoptosis was investigated using a luminescent assay.
The MTT assay showed that deferasirox had dose-dependent cytotoxic effects on all 3 cell lines. Cell cycle analysis showed that the sub-G1 portion increased in all 3 cell lines as the concentration of deferasirox increased. Early apoptosis was also confirmed in the treated cells by Annexin V and PI staining. Western blotting showed an increase in the cleavage of PARP, caspase 3/7, and caspase 9 in deferasirox-treated groups.
We demonstrated that deferasirox, a new oral iron-chelating agent, induced early apoptosis in human malignant lymphoma cells, and this apoptotic effect is dependent on the caspase-3/caspase-9 pathway.
Deferasirox; Malignant lymphoma; Apoptosis
Purpose of review
Mucormycosis is an increasingly common fungal infection with an unacceptably high mortality despite first-line antifungal therapy. Iron acquisition is a critical step in the causative organsisms’ pathogenetic mechanism. Therefore, abrogation of fungal iron acquisition is a promising therapeutic strategy to impact clinical outcomes for this deadly disease.
The increased risk of mucormycosis in patients in renal failure receiving deferoxamine iron chelation therapy is explained by the fact that deferoxamine actually acts as a siderophore for the agents of mucormycosis, supplying previously unavailable iron to the fungi. The iron liberated from deferoxamine is likely transported into the fungus by the high affinity iron permease. In contrast, two other iron chelators, deferiprone and deferasirox, do not supply iron to the fungus and were shown to be cidal against Zygomycetes in vitro. Further, both iron chelators were shown to effectively treat mucormycosis in animal models, and one has been successfully used as salvage therapy for a patient with rhinocerebral mucormycosis.
Further investigation and development of iron chelators is warranted as adjunctive therapy for mucormycosis.
Mucormycosis; Rhizopus; Iron chelation; Deferasirox; deferiprone
Chelating agents remain the mainstay in reducing the iron burden and extending patient survival in homozygous beta-thalassemia but adverse and toxic effects may increase with the institution and long term use of this essential therapy. This study aimed to estimate the incidence of deferasirox (DFX) side effects in patients with thalassemia major or intermedia.
A retrospective study of 72 patients (mean age: 20.3±0.9 yrs; 36 male, 36 female) with thalassemia major or intermedia treated at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman, was performed to assess the incidence of side effects related to deferasirox over a mean of 16.7 month follow-up period.
Six patients experienced rashes and 6 had gastro-intestinal upset. DFX was discontinued in 18 patients for the following reasons: persistent progressive rise(s) in serum creatinine (7 patients; 40% mean serum creatinine rise from baseline), feeling unwell (2), severe diarrhea (1), pregnancy (1), death unrelated to chelator (2) and rise in serum transaminases (2). Three patients were reverted to desferoxamine and deferiprone combination therapy as DFX was no longer biochemically effective after 18 months of therapy. There was no correlation between baseline serum ferritin and serum creatinine or a rise in serum creatinine. Cardiac MRI T2* did not change with DFX therapy. However, there was an improvement in liver MRI T2* (p=0.013).
Renal side effects related to deferasirox appear to be higher than those reported in published clinical trials. Further larger studies are required to confirm these findings.
Chelator; Kidney function; Thalassemia; Toxicity
Iron chelating agents have the potential to minimize damage associated with oxidative stress in a range of diseases; however, this potential is countered by risks of indiscriminant metal binding or iron depletion in conditions not associated with systemic iron overload. Deferasirox is a chelator used clinically for iron overload, but also is cytotoxic to cells in culture. In order to test whether a prodrug version of deferasirox could minimize its cytotoxicity but retain its protective properties against iron-induced oxidative damage, we synthesized a prochelator that contains a self-immolative boronic ester masking group that is removed upon exposure to hydrogen peroxide to release the bis-hydroxyphenyltriazole ligand deferasirox. We present here the synthesis and characterization of this triazole-based, self-immolative prochelator: TIP (4-(5-(2-((4-boronobenzyl)oxy)phenyl)-3-(2-hydroxyphenyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)benzoic acid). TIP does not coordinate to Fe3+ and shows only weak affinity for Cu2+ or Zn2+, in stark contrast to deferasirox, which avidly binds all three metal ions. TIP converts efficiently in vitro upon reaction with hydrogen peroxide to deferasirox. In cell culture, TIP protects retinal pigment epithelial cells from death induced by hydrogen peroxide; however, TIP itself is more cytotoxic than deferasirox in unstressed cells. These results imply that the cytotoxicity of deferasirox may not derive exclusively from its iron withholding properties.
Chelation therapy; Iron; Oxidative stress; Fenton chemistry; Reactive oxygen species; Prodrug
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
Patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) often develop iron overload and related complications, and may require iron chelation. However, the risk of over-chelation emerges as patients reach low, near-normal body iron levels and dose adjustments may be needed. In the THALASSA study, the threshold for chelation interruption was LIC <3 mg Fe/g dw (LIC<3); 24 patients receiving deferasirox for up to 2 yr reached this target. A post hoc analysis was performed to characterize the safety profile of deferasirox as these patients approached LIC<3.
THALASSA was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of two deferasirox regimens (5 and 10 mg/kg/d) versus placebo in patients with NTDT. Patients randomized to deferasirox or placebo in the core could enter a 1-yr extension, with all patients receiving deferasirox (extension starting doses based on LIC at end-of-core and prior chelation response). The deferasirox safety profile was assessed between baseline and 6 months before reaching LIC<3 (Period 1), and the 6 months immediately before achieving LIC<3 (Period 2).
Mean ± SD deferasirox treatment duration up to reaching LIC<3 was 476 ± 207 d, and deferasirox dose was 9.7 ± 3.0 mg/kg/d. The exposure-adjusted AE incidence regardless of causality was similar in periods 1 (1.026) and 2 (1.012). There were no clinically relevant differences in renal and hepatic laboratory parameters measured close to the time of LIC<3 compared with measurements near the previous LIC assessment.
The deferasirox safety profile remained consistent as patients approached the chelation interruption target, indicating that, with appropriate monitoring and dose adjustments in relation to iron load, low iron burdens may be reached with deferasirox with minimal risk of over-chelation.
iron chelation; iron overload; thalassemia
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)
Available iron chelation regimes in thalassaemia may achieve different changes in cardiac and hepatic iron as assessed by MR. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of four available iron chelator regimes in 232 thalassaemia major patients by assessing the rate of change in repeated measurements of cardiac and hepatic MR.
For the heart, deferiprone and the combination of deferiprone and deferoxamine significantly reduced cardiac iron at all levels of iron loading. As patients were on deferasirox for a shorter time, a second analysis ("Initial interval analysis") assessing the change between the first two recorded MR results for both cardiac and hepatic iron (minimum interval 12 months) was made. Combination therapy achieved the most rapid fall in cardiac iron load at all levels and deferiprone alone was significantly effective with moderate and mild iron load. In the liver, deferasirox effected significant falls in iron load and combination therapy resulted in the most rapid decline.
With the knowledge of the efficacy of the different available regimes and the specific iron load in the heart and the liver, appropriate tailoring of chelation therapy should allow clearance of iron. Combination therapy is best in reducing both cardiac and hepatic iron, while monotherapy with deferiprone or deferasirox are effective in the heart and liver respectively. The outcomes of this study may be useful to physicians as to the chelation they should prescribe according to the levels of iron load found in the heart and liver by MR.
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.
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.
Duodenal ulcer perforation in pediatric age group is an uncommon entity; hence, it is not usually considered in the differential diagnosis of acute abdomen in these patients. It is important for the emergency physician to consider perforated peptic ulcer in the differential diagnosis of children presenting with acute abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, or shock. We report a 6½-year-old male child with thalassemia major who presented to emergency room with an acute abdomen and shock, who was subsequently found to have a perforated duodenal ulcer, probably related to use of oral chelating agent, deferasirox. Although, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain has been mentioned as infrequent adverse event in the scientific product information of deferasirox, in our current knowledge this is the first case report of perforated duodenal ulcer after oral deferasirox. The severity of this event justifies the reporting of this case. This patient had an atypical presentation in that there were no signs or symptoms of peptic ulcer disease before perforation and shock he was successfully managed with open surgery after initial resuscitation and stabilization of his general condition.
Chelating agent; deferasirox; duodenal perforation
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.
Children with severe chronic hemolytic anemia or congenital erythroblastopenia are transfusion dependent. Long-term transfusion therapy prolongs life but results in a toxic accumulation of iron in the organs. The human body cannot actively eliminate excess iron. Therefore, the use of a chelating agent is required to promote excretion of iron. So far, iron chelation has been done by subcutaneous infusion of deferoxamine given over 10 h, 5–6 days per week. Compliance is poor and chelation often insufficient. Ferritin measurements and sometimes liver biopsies are used to evaluate the iron burden in the body. At the present time, new iron chelators that can be given orally are available. Furthermore, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assessment of tissue iron is a noninvasive and highly reproducible method, which is able to quantitate organ iron burden. In conclusion, iron overload can be measured more accurately with noninvasive methods such as MRI. Deferasirox is a once-daily oral therapy for treating transfusional iron overload, which improves patient compliance and quality of life.
Iron overload; Diagnosis; Chelators
The ability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to form antibiotic-resistant biofilms is thought to account for the inability of current therapies to resolve bacterial infections in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). We recently described a system in which highly antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa biofilms grow on human CF airway epithelial cells, and using this system we showed that enhanced iron release from CF cells facilitates the development of such highly antibiotic-resistant biofilms. Given the positive role for iron in biofilm development, we investigated whether the FDA-approved iron chelators deferoxamine and deferasirox would enhance the ability of tobramycin, the primary antibiotic used to treat CF lung infections, to eliminate P. aeruginosa biofilms. The combination of tobramycin with deferoxamine or deferasirox reduced established biofilm biomass by approximately 90% and reduced viable bacteria by 7-log units. Neither tobramycin nor deferoxamine nor deferasirox alone had such a marked effect. The combination of tobramycin and FDA-approved iron chelators also prevented the formation of biofilms on CF airway cells. These data suggest that the combined use of tobramycin and FDA-approved iron chelators may be an effective therapy to treat patients with CF and other lung disease characterized by antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa biofilms.
antibiotic resistance; biofilms; deferoxamine; deferasirox; cystic fibrosis model
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
Zygomycosis are invasive mould infections, rarely diagnosed in hematologic patients. Most of the cases published are in patients with prolonged neutropenia, along with other risk factors such as the use of prior broad-spectrum antibiotics (including new antifungal agents, such as voriconazole), diabetes mellitus (with or without ketoacidosis), malnutrition, iron overload (with or without the use of deferoxamine). These infections have poor prognosis due to the involvement of vital anatomic structures and late diagnosis. Until recent years, the treatment was based on high doses of amphotericin B plus surgical debridement. Here we present two patients with hematologic diseases (one with leukemia, the second with aplastic anemia) with an impaired immune system and the diagnosis of zygomycosis. The survival of one of them was mainly due to early diagnosis and surgical debridement; unfortunately the second was misdiagnosed as an extensive ecchymosis due to thrombocytopenia and died with CNS involvement.
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.
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