Porphyria cutanea tarda in an HCV-positive liver transplant patient: a case report

Liver Unit, Ereditarie-Istituto San Gallicano, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.
Annals of hepatology: official journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 11/2012; 11(6):951-4.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Introduction:
Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is the most common type of porphyria. The strong association between PCT and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is well established. Although antiviral treatment of chronic hepatitis C may improve PCT in some cases, de novo onset of PCT has been observed in patients under- going peginterferon/ribavirin treatment. We present a rare case of a genotype 3 HCV-positive liver transplant recipient who developed PCT during antiviral treatment and discuss its probable etiopathogenesis.

Case presentation:
A genotype 3 HCV-positive liver transplant recipient, a 42-year-old man, was treated with peginterferon alfa-2a (180 µg/week) combined with ribavirin (1,200 mg/day) for recurrence of HCV infection after liver transplantation. He presented with hyperferritinemia but tested negative for genetic hemochromatosis (C282Y and H63D mutations). During antiviral therapy, he developed skin lesions on his hands characterized by vesicles and erosions consistent with PCT. PCT was confirmed by skin biopsy and elevated urinary uroporphyrin levels (1,469 mg/24 h). He was treated with chloroquine (200 mg) twice weekly, resulting in gradual regression of the skin lesions. Antiviral treatment was stopped after 48 weeks, and the patient achieved a sustained virological response. In conclusion, we report an extremely rare case of PCT in a genotype 3 HCV-positive liver transplant patient treated with antiviral therapy. We believe that the combination of HCV genotype 3 infection; hemolysis due to ribavirin treatment; and increased plasma levels of cytokines, such as IL-6 and TNFα, could have altered the patient's iron metabolism and thus caused PCT.

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Available from: Adriano Pellicelli, Aug 07, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis on the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). Studies evaluating prevalence of HCV infection in patients with PCT were considered. Bibliographical searches were conducted in several electronic databases. Studies comparing HCV prevalence in PCT (cases) and in a reference group (controls) were included in the meta-analysis, combining the Odds Ratios (OR) of the individual studies. Fifty studies including 2,167 patients were identified. Mean HCV prevalence by serology was 47%, and 50% with polymerase chain reaction (PCR). HCV prevalence markedly varied depending on the country and the type of PCT (57% in the sporadic and 26% in the familial form). Eight case-control studies were identified. Seven studies compared HCV prevalence in PCT vs. healthy controls: 40% vs. 0.24%, respectively (OR=275; 95% confidence interval=104-725). Heterogeneity disappeared when only studies evaluating HCV infection by PCR were included. HCV prevalence in patients with PCT is approximately 50%, much higher than that reported in general population, suggesting a possible etiopathogenic role of HCV in PCT. The striking geographical variation in this association suggests that genetic and/or environmental factors may also be involved in the pathogenesis of this disorder.
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    ABSTRACT: In some, but not all countries, porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) has been associated with chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Recently, PCT has also been associated with mutations in the HFE gene that are associated with HLA-linked hereditary hemochromatosis. Until now, few studies of these associations have been reported from North America. The aims of this study were: 1) to assess the prevalence of HCV infection and HFE mutations in North American patients with PCT; 2) to compare demographic and laboratory features between those who are HCV-positive and HCV-negative; and 3) to study urinary porphyrin excretions in American HCV-positive patients without clinically manifest PCT. Clinical and laboratory data, including tests for HCV and urinary porphyrins, were collected from 70 unselected patients with typical PCT. Urinary porphyrins were also measured in 110 non-PCT patients with chronic hepatitis C. Mutational analyses of the HFE gene were performed in 26 PCT patients. Thirty-nine of 70 (56%) of the PCT patients had evidence of HCV infection. Thirty-two of 39 PCT patients with HCV were men, all of whom used alcohol. In contrast, 22 of 31 PCT patients without HCV infection were women, 12 of whom had taken estrogens. The HCV-positive group was more likely to have used illicit intravenous drugs (45% vs. 0%; P = 0.01), to have had several (>4) sex partners (48% vs. 13%; P = 0.005), and less likely to have no known risk factors for HCV infection (33% vs. 78%; P = 0.004). Total urinary porphyrin excretion was the same in the two groups, but those with HCV infection had a significantly lower percentage of uroporphyrin and higher percentages of hepta-and hexa-carboxy porphyrins in urine. Sixteen of 110 (15%) HCV-positive subjects without PCT had increased urinary porphyrins, but, unlike PCT, these were mainly coproporphyrin. Forty-two percent of PCT patients carried the C282Y mutation of HFE (15% homozygous), and another 31% carried the H63D mutation (8% homozygous). Thus, 73% of PCT patients had one of these mutations. The prevalence of HCV infection (56%) and mutations in the HFE gene (73%) are high among North American patients with PCT. Alcohol and estrogen use are important additional risk factors. All PCT patients should be tested for HCV infection and for HFE gene mutations. Although HCV infection is a trigger for PCT, preclinical PCT is rare in chronic HCV hepatitis C in the United States.
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated the efficacy of interferon in the treatment of a 61 year-old male patient with porphyria cutanea tarda associated with hepatitis C virus infection. After initiation of intravenous administration of interferon-beta, urinary excretion of uroporphyrin and coproporphyrin, serum transaminase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase levels and ferritin were gradually increased. However, after completion of interferon-beta administration for 6 weeks, urinary excretion of uroporphyrin and coproporphyrin, serum enzymes and ferritin were significantly decreased correspondent with diminished hepatitis C virus RNA titer. These results suggest that interferon may be beneficial for the treatment of porphyria cutanea tarda due to hepatitis C virus infection.
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