Aims: To compare insulin sensitivity, β-cell function and iron status biomarkers in non-transfusion-dependent thalassaemia (NTDT) with iron excess during pre- and post-iron chelation. Methods: Subjects with NTDT, aged older than 10 years, with serum ferritin >300 ng/ml, were included. Iron chelation with deferasirox (10 mg/kg/day) was prescribed daily for 6 months. Results: Ten patients with a median age of 17.4 years were enrolled. The comparison between pre- and post-chelation demonstrated significantly lower iron load: median serum ferritin (551.4 vs. 486.2 ng/ml, p = 0.047), median TIBC (211.5 vs. 233.5 µg/dl, p = 0.009) and median non-transferrin binding iron (5.5 vs. 1.4 µM, p = 0.005). All patients had a normal oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) both pre- and post-chelation. However, fasting plasma glucose was significantly reduced after iron chelation (85.0 vs.79.5 mg/dl, p = 0.047). MRI revealed no significant changes of iron accumulation in the heart and liver after chelation, but there was a significantly lower iron load in the pancreas, assessed by higher T2* at post-chelation compared with pre-chelation (41.9 vs. 36.7 ms, p = 0.047). No adverse events were detected. Conclusions: A trend towards improving insulin sensitivity and β-cell function as well as a reduced pancreatic iron load was observed following 6 months of iron chelation (TCTR20160523003).

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