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Deferasirox reduces iron overload significantly in nontransfusion-dependent thalassemia: 1-year results from a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Author(s): Taher AT, Porter J, Viprakasit V, Kattamis A, Chuncharunee S, Sutcharitchan P, Siritanaratkul N, Galanello R, Karakas Z, Lawniczek T, Ros J, Zhang Y, Habr D, Cappellini MD.

Affiliation(s): American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. ataher@aub.edu.lb

Publication date & source: 2012, Blood. , 120(5):970-7

Nontransfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) patients may develop iron overload and its associated complications despite receiving only occasional or no transfusions. The present 1-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled THALASSA (Assessment of Exjade in Nontransfusion-Dependent Thalassemia) trial assessed the efficacy and safety of deferasirox in iron-overloaded NTDT patients. A total of 166 patients were randomized in a 2:1:2:1 ratio to starting doses of 5 or 10 mg/kg/d of deferasirox or placebo. The means ± SD of the actual deferasirox doses received over the duration of the study in the 5 and 10 mg/kg/d starting dose cohorts were 5.7 ± 1.4 and 11.5 ± 2.9 mg/kg/d, respectively. At 1 year, the liver iron concentration (LIC) decreased significantly compared with placebo (least-squares mean [LSM] ± SEM, -2.33 ± 0.7 mg Fe/g dry weight [dw], P = .001, and -4.18 ± 0.69 mg Fe/g dw, P < .001) for the 5 and 10 mg/kg/d deferasirox groups, respectively (baseline values [means ± SD], 13.11 ± 7.29 and 14.56 ± 7.92 mg Fe/g dw, respectively). Similarly, serum ferritin decreased significantly compared with placebo by LSM -235 and -337 ng/mL for the deferasirox 5 and 10 mg/kg/d groups, respectively (P < .001). In the placebo patients, LIC and serum ferritin increased from baseline by 0.38 mg Fe/g dw and 115 ng/mL (LSM), respectively. The most common drug-related adverse events were nausea (n = 11; 6.6%), rash (n = 8; 4.8%), and diarrhea (n = 6; 3.6%). This is the first randomized study showing that iron chelation with deferasirox significantly reduces iron overload in NTDT patients with a frequency of overall adverse events similar to placebo.

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