Scientific Literature

Longitudinal Study of ICET-A on Glucose Tolerance, Insulin Sensitivity and β-cell Secretion in Eleven β-Thalassemia Major Patients With Mild Iron Overload

De Sanctis V., Soliman A.T., Daar S., Tzoulis P., Di Maio S., Kattamis C. Acta Biomed. (2023)

Background: Iron chelation therapy (ICT) is the gold standard for treating patients with iron overload, though its long-term effects are still under evaluation. According to current recommendations regarding  transfusion-dependent  (TD)  β-thalassemia major (β-TM) patients, their serum ferritin (SF) levels should be maintained below 1,000 ng/mL and ICT should be discontinued when the levels are <500 ng/mL in two successive tests. Alternatively, the dose of chelator could be considerably reduced to maintain a balance between iron input and output of  frequent transfusions.

Study design: Due to the paucity of information on long-term effects of ICT  in β-TM with low SF levels on glucose homeostasis, the International Network of Clinicians for Endocrinopathies in Thalassemia and Adolescence Medicine (ICET-A) promoted a retrospective and an ongoing prospective observational study with the primary aim to address the long-term effects of ICT on glucose tolerance and metabolism (β-cell function and peripheral insulin sensitivity) in adult β-TM patients with persistent SF level below 800 ng/mL.

Patients and Methods: 11 β-TM patients (mean age: 35.5 ± 5.5 years; SF range: 345-777 ng/mL) with normal glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or abnormal glucose tolerance (AGT) for a median of 5.3(1.1-8.3) years.

Results: Abnormal glucose tolerance (AGT) was observed in 7 patients (63.6%) at first observation and ) persisted in 6 patients (54.5%) at last observation. None of them developed diabetes mellitus. AGT was reversed in two patients.

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