Thalassemia Phenotypes and Genotypes in Taiwan: A Retrospective Study Based on Thalassemia Screening of Young Men for Military Conscription

Hsiao Wei Lee, Shao Min Han, Youngsen Yang, Tseng Hsi Lin, Huey En Tzeng, Kuang Hsi Chang, Wen Li Hwang, Chieh Lin J. Teng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Prenatal thalassemia studies from Taiwan show that one-third of fetuses with genetic abnormalities have β-thalassemia major (β-TM). However, the phenotypes and genotypes of adult thalassemia warrant further investigation. From September 2006 to April 2014, 741 male candidates drafted for military service with mean corpuscular volume (MCV) <80 fL and serum ferritin >20 g/L were analyzed. The results showed that the detection rates of α- and β-thalassemia (α- an β-thal) were 50.20% (372/741) and 49.12% (364/741), respectively. Only five patients (0.67%) were diagnosed with both α- and β-thal. The- -SEA/αα mutation was found in 76.88% (286/372) of α-thal patients. Heterozygous mutations in IVS-II-654 (C > T) and codons 41/42 (-TCTT) accounted for 55.77% (203/364) of β-thal cases. The leukocyte counts for α- and β-thal were 6241.74 ± 1552.99 and 6622.87 ± 1814.41 × 109/L, respectively (p = 0.007). The α-thal patients had lower red blood cell (RBC) mass (5.85 ± 0.44 × 1012/L vs. 6.09 ± 0.45 × 1012/L; p < 0.001) and higher hemoglobin (Hb) (12.82 ± 0.72 vs. 12.35 ± 0.71 g/dL; p < 0.001) than β-thal patients. Mean serum ferritin values were 169.67 and 241.36 g/L, respectively, in α- and β-thal patients (p < 0.001), indicating more profound ineffective erythropoiesis in β-thal. Only four of the 741 patients underwent further hematological follow-up. Our study suggests that iron overload might be a potential problem in β-thal patients; therefore, regular follow-up is highly recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Hemoglobin (Hb)
  • Mutation
  • Taiwan
  • Thalassemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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