Recent advancements in glucose dysregulation and pharmacological management of osteoporosis in transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT): an update of ICET-A (International Network of Clinicians for Endocrinopathies in Thalassemia and Adolescence Medicine) : Glucose disorders and osteoporosis in thalassemia

Recent advancements in glucose dysregulation and pharmacological management of osteoporosis in transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT): an update of ICET-A (International Network of Clinicians for Endocrinopathies in Thalassemia and Adolescence Medicine)

Glucose disorders and osteoporosis in thalassemia


  • Ploutarchos Tzoulis Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Whittington Hospital, University College London, London, UK
  • Maria P. Yavropoulou Endocrinology Unit, First Department of Propaedeutic and Internal Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, 11527, Greece
  • Atanas Banchev Expert Center for Haemophilia, Thalassaemia and other Rare Benign Haematological Diseases, Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, University Hospital "Tzaritza Giovanna - ISUL" Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Iskra Modeva Clinic of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Clinical Genetics and Metabolic Diseases, Diabetes Department, University Paediatric Hospital "Prof. Ivan Mitev", Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Shahina Daar Department of Haematology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman & Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Wallenberg Research Centre at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
  • Vincenzo De Sanctis Quisisana Hospital, Ferrara


Transfusion-dependent thalassemia, short stature, growth and endocrine disorders, risk factors, osteoporosis.


Purpose of review: The aim of this short review is to provide an update on glucose homeostasis, insulin secretion and pharmacological management of osteoporosis in transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT). Recent findings: A retrospective study, documenting the changes in glucose-insulin homeostasis from early childhood to young adulthood, has advanced our understanding of the evolution of glucose regulation in patients with TDT. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (T2* MRI) is considered to be a reliable tool to measure pancreatic iron overload. Continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS) can be used in early diagnosis of glucose dysregulation and in disease management in patients with already diagnosed diabetes. Oral glucose-lowering agents (GLAs) are effective and safe for the treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM) in patients with TDT, achieving adequate glycemic control for a substantial period of time. Current modalities for the management of osteoporosis in adults with TDT include inhibitors of bone remodeling such as bisphosphonates and denosumab as well as stimulators of bone formation (e.g., teriparatide), Considering the unique characteristics of osteoporosis associated with TDT, early diagnosis, treatment initiation and treatment duration are critical issues in the management this special population. Conclusions: Advances in the care of TDT patients  have led to improved survival and quality of life. Nevertheless, many chronic endocrine complications still remain. Their routine screening and a high index of suspicion are imperative in order to provide timely diagnosis and  treatment.


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How to Cite

Tzoulis P, Yavropoulou MP, Banchev A, Modeva I, Daar S, De Sanctis V. Recent advancements in glucose dysregulation and pharmacological management of osteoporosis in transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT): an update of ICET-A (International Network of Clinicians for Endocrinopathies in Thalassemia and Adolescence Medicine) : Glucose disorders and osteoporosis in thalassemia . Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2023 Jun. 14 [cited 2024 Jul. 21];94(3):e2023178. Available from: