Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Should HFE p.C282Y homozygotes with moderately elevated serum ferritin be treated? A randomised controlled trial comparing iron reduction with sham treatment (Mi-iron)
  1. Sim Yee Ong1,2,
  2. Lara Dolling1,
  3. Jeannette L Dixon3,
  4. Amanda J Nicoll4,5,
  5. Lyle C Gurrin6,
  6. Michelle Wolthuizen1,
  7. Erica M Wood7,
  8. Greg J Anderson3,
  9. Grant A Ramm8,
  10. Katrina J Allen9,10,
  11. John K Olynyk11,
  12. Darrell Crawford12,
  13. Jennifer Kava13,
  14. Louise E Ramm8,
  15. Paul Gow14,
  16. Simon Durrant15,
  17. Lawrie W Powell16,
  18. Martin B Delatycki1,17
  1. 1Bruce Lefroy Centre, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Iron Metabolism Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4Department of Gastroenterology, Eastern Health, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  7. 7Transfusion Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
  8. 8Hepatic Fibrosis Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  9. 9Gastro and Food Allergy, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  10. 10Allergy and Immunology, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  11. 11Department of Gastroenterology, Fiona Stanley and Fremantle Hospitals, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  12. 12School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  13. 13Department of Gastroenterology, Fremantle Hospital, Alma St, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
  14. 14Department of Gastroenterology, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  15. 15Bone Marrow Transplant and Haematology, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  16. 16RBWH Centre for the Advancement of Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  17. 17Clinical Genetics, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Martin Delatycki; martin.delatycki{at}


Introduction HFE p.C282Y homozygosity is the most common cause of hereditary haemochromatosis. There is currently insufficient evidence to assess whether non-specific symptoms or hepatic injury in homozygotes with moderately elevated iron defined as a serum ferritin (SF) of 300–1000 µg/L are related to iron overload. As such the evidence for intervention in this group is lacking. We present here methods for a study that aims to evaluate whether non-specific symptoms and hepatic fibrosis markers improve with short-term normalisation of SF in p.C282Y homozygotes with moderate elevation of SF.

Methods and analysis Mi-iron is a prospective, multicentre, randomised patient-blinded trial conducted in three centres in Victoria and Queensland, Australia. Participants who are HFE p.C282Y homozygotes with SF levels between 300 and 1000 μg/L are recruited and randomised to either the treatment group or to the sham treatment group. Those in the treatment group have normalisation of SF by 3-weekly erythrocytapheresis while those in the sham treatment group have 3-weekly plasmapheresis and thus do not have normalisation of SF. Patients are blinded to all procedures. All outcome measures are administered prior to and following the course of treatment/sham treatment. Patient reported outcome measures are the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS-primary outcome), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form V.2 (SF36v2) and Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale 2 short form (AIMS2-SF). Liver injury and hepatic fibrosis are assessed with transient elastography (TE), Fibrometer and Hepascore, while oxidative stress is assessed by measurement of urine and serum F2-isoprostanes.

Ethics and dissemination This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committees of Austin Health, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. Study findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Trial registration Trial identifier: NCT01631708; Registry:

  • haemochromatosis
  • ferritin
  • venesection
  • phlebotomy
  • erythrocytapheresis

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.