Author(s): Musallam KM, Cappellini MD, Wood JC, Taher AT
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Abstract Iron overload due to increased intestinal iron absorption represents an important clinical problem in patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT), particularly as they advance in age. Current models for iron metabolism in patients with beta (β)-thalassemia intermedia (TI) suggest that suppression of serum hepcidin results in increased iron absorption and release of iron from the reticuloendothelial system, leading to depletion of macrophage iron, relatively low levels of serum ferritin, and liver iron loading. The clinical consequences of iron overload in patients with NTDT are multifactorial and include endocrinopathy, bone disease, thromboembolism, pulmonary hypertension, cerebrovascular and neuronal damage, liver fibrosis or cirrhosis, and increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Although serum ferritin levels correlate with liver iron concentration (LIC), they underestimate iron load in these patients compared with transfusion-dependent patients with equivalent LIC. Therefore, direct measurement of LIC is recommended with chelation therapy as indicated. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Blood Rev
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis