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Serum ferritin, desferrioxamine, and evolution of HIV-1 infection in thalassemic patients.

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Institut Fédératif Saint Antoine de Recherche en Santé, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France.


To study the respective roles of mean serum ferritin level and the mean desferrioxamine (DFX) dose on progression of HIV-1 infection, data from 49 HIV-seropositive thalassemic patients were analyzed using a Cox proportional hazards model including known confounding variables. Nine years after seroconversion, 10% of those who had been prescribed >40 mg/kg of DFX daily had entered stage IV versus 39% of those who had been prescribed a lower dose. Patients with ferritin level >1935 g/L entered stage IV more rapidly than those with a lower level (31% versus 16%). In multivariate analysis, the ferritin level was found to be an independent predictor of progression of HIV disease, whereas the mean daily dose of DFX was not. Similar results were obtained when death was the endpoint. Our results support a hypothesis that was recently expressed, that iron overload could be associated with a more rapid progression of HIV-1 infection.

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