Screening for glucose dysregulation in β-thalassemia major (β-TM): An update of current evidences and personal experience

Vincenzo De Sanctis*, Shahina Daar, Ashraf T. Soliman, Ploutarchos Tzoulis, Mehran Karimi, Salvatore Di Maio, Christos Kattamis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Glucose dysregulation (GD) in patients with β-thalassemia major (β-TM) usually develops gradually. Prediabetes consists of two abnormalities, impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), the latter detected by a standardized oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Diagnosis of prediabetes is essential for an early identification of high-risk individuals who will benefit from intensive iron chelation therapy and lifestyle modification. Therefore, patients with β-TM should undergo annual screening for glucose abnormalities, according to international recommendations, starting from the age of 10 years. OGTT remains the preferred screening method as it is more sensitive for GD than fasting plasma glucose (FPG), although it is poorly reproducible. The use of HbA1c measurement has limited use as it is generally considered unreliable in patients with thalassemia. Continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) is an accurate method to detect the variability of glucose fluctuations and offers the opportunity for better assessment of glucose homeostasis in a selected group of β-TM patients. Pancreatic Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) associated with insulin secretion-sensitivity index-2 (ISSI-2) could be a complementary test, minimizing the necessity for OGTT and identifying high-risk patients before irreversible pancreatic damage occurs. The aims of this short report are to give practical guidance for an early identification of GD in β-TM patients, to summarise our experience, and to offer an impetus for further research in the field. (

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022158
JournalActa Biomedica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 14 2022


  • glucose dysregulation
  • prediabetes
  • screening
  • β-thalassemia major

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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