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Survival and development of health conditions after iron depletion therapy in C282Y-linked hemochromatosis patients

Adams PC, Richard L, Weir M, Speechley M. Can Liver J. 2021; 4(4):381-90. Epub 2021 Sep 7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/canlivj-2021-0016


Background — We report long-term survival and development of selected health conditions in Ontario-based referred and screened C282Y homozygotes for hemochromatosis treated by phlebotomy compared with an untreated control group known to be without HFE mutations.

Methods — Patient characteristics and outcomes (all-cause mortality, liver cancer, diabetes, cirrhosis, hip or knee joint replacement, and osteoarthritis) were ascertained using a linked health administrative database held at ICES. Outcomes were assessed between groups without the outcome at baseline using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for age and sex. All C282Y homozygotes with elevated serum ferritin were treated by phlebotomy to reach serum ferritin of 50 µg/L. Our cohort included 527 C282Y homozygotes (311 men, 216 women, mean age 48 years) and 12,879 control participants (5,667 men and 7,212 women).

Results — C282Y homozygotes had an increased risk of all-cause mortality (aHR 1.44 [1.19–1.75], p <0.001); hepatocellular carcinoma (aHR 8.30 [3.97–17.34], p <0.001); hip or knee joint replacement (aHR 3.06 [2.46–3.81], p <0.001); osteoarthritis (aHR 1.72 [1.47–2.01], p <0.001); and cirrhosis (aHR 3.87 [3.05–4.92], p <0.001). C282Y homozygotes did not have an increased risk for diagnosis of diabetes) (aHR 0.84 [0.67–1.07], p = 0.16) during follow-up (median 17.7 years).

Conclusions — C282Y homozygotes experience higher death and complication rates than individuals without HFE mutations, despite treatment by phlebotomy. Diabetes did not increase after phlebotomy therapy.

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