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We conducted the first nation-wide cohort study of sickle cell disease (SCD) in Italy, a Southern European country exposed to intense recent flux migration from endemic areas for SCD. We evaluate the impact of hydroxyurea on a total of 652 pediatric and adult patients from 33 Reference Centers for SCD (mean age 24.5±15years, 51.4% males). Hydroxyurea median treatment duration was 7years (range: <1year to 29years) at a mean therapeutic dose of 18±4.7mg/kg/day. Hydroxyurea was associated with a significant increase in mean total and fetal hemoglobin and a significant decrease in mean hemoglobin S, white blood and platelet counts, and lactate dehydrogenase levels. Hydroxyurea was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of acute chest syndrome (-29.3%, p<0.001), vaso-occlusive crisis (-34.1%, p<0.001), hospitalization (-53.2%, p<0.001), and bone necrosis (-6.9%, p<0.001). New silent cerebral infarction (SCI) occurred during treatment (+42.4%, p<0.001) but not stroke (+0.5%, p=0.572). These observations were generally consistent upon stratification for age, descent (Caucasian or African), genotype (βS/βS, βS/β0 or βS/β+) and duration of treatment (< or ≥10years). There were no new safety concerns observed compared to those commonly reported in the literature. Our study, conducted on a large population of patients with different descent and compound state supports the benefits of hydroxyurea therapy as a treatment option. Registered at clinical (NCT02709681).

Original publication




Journal article


Blood Cells Mol Dis

Publication Date





82 - 89


Complications, Hydroxycarbamide, Hydroxyurea, Management, Real-world, Sickle cell disease, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Anemia, Sickle Cell, Antisickling Agents, Biomarkers, Cause of Death, Child, Child, Preschool, Disease Management, Erythrocyte Indices, Female, Genotype, Humans, Hydroxyurea, Infant, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Male, Middle Aged, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult