Late-onset porphyrias: what are they?

Shigeru Sassa, Reiko Akagi, Chiaki Nishitani, Hideo Harigae, Kazumichi Furuyama

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Porphyrias are inherited disorders of heme biosynthesis. ALA dehydratase porphyria (ADP) and congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) are autosomal recessive porphyrias, and are typically expressed at birth or in childhood. However, a few cases of late-onset recessive porphyrias have been reported. Recently we encountered a late-onset ADP patient who developed symptoms of acute porphyria when he was 63 years old. This was accompanied by polycythemia vera. It was concluded that he developed the porphyria because an abnormal ALAD allele was clonally expanded by polycythemia vera. Upon reviewing the literature, a few cases of late-onset CEP were found to be also associated with hematologic abnormalities suggestive of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), another clonal disorder. These findings suggest that these late-onset porphyrias may be heterozygous for their gene defects, but clinical expression may be elicited if there is a loss of heterozygosity, either by a clonal expansion of the porphyric allele or by a loss of function mutation in the other allele.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalCellular and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Feb


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