Scientific Literature

Renal Function in β-Thalassemia Major Patients Treated with Two Different Iron-Chelation Regimes

Tanous, O., Azulay, Y., Halevy, R., et al. BMC nephrology, 22(1), 1-11. (2021)


Renal injury in transfusion dependent β thalassemia patients (TDT) has been attributed to iron overload, chronic anemia and iron-chelation therapy (ICT) toxicity. We studied renal function in TDT patients treated with two different ICT regimes.

Patients and methods

We studied 36 TDT patients: 26 received deferasirox (DFX) and 10 were treated with deferoxamine (DFO) +/− deferiprone (DFP).


Increased uNAG was found in 30% of the DFX group vs. 10% of the DFO+/−DFP group, the mean uNAG level in the DFX group was significantly higher than in the DFO+/−DFP group, (P < 0.05). A moderate negative correlation was found between uNAG levels and mean serum ferritin for the prior 10 years (P = 0.03), more pronounced for the DFO+/−DFP group. Twenty nine patients had had their renal function evaluated 10 years earlier; eGFR significantly declined in patients switched to DFX (P = 0.0093) but not in patients who continued DFO+/−DFP.


A high prevalence of renal tubular damage was observed in our TDT patients, particularly those treated with DFX; uNAG was negatively associated with mean 10-year serum ferritin, suggesting ICT’s involvement in tubular injury. A significant decline in eGFR compared to a decade earlier was observed only in patients currently treated with DFX. Strict follow-up of renal function in TDT patients is warranted.

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