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Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 Dec;95(12):3516-21.

Porphyria cutanea tarda in Brazilian patients: association with hemochromatosis C282Y mutation and hepatitis C virus infection.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil.



Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is commonly associated with iron overload and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Association between hemochromatosis C282Y or H63D mutations and PCT has been observed, although not uniformly, and iron overload is also commonly found in chronic HCV hepatitis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the frequency of C282Y and H63D mutations and HCV infection in Brazilian patients with PCT and their relationship with iron overload.


Twenty-three patients (19 men) aged 39.6 +/- 11.1 yr were studied. All had dermatological lesions of PCT and high levels of urinary uroporphyrin. HCV infection and iron overload were investigated. DNA samples were analyzed for the presence of HFE mutations.


The frequency of C282Y was significantly higher in PCT patients than in 278 healthy individuals (17.4% vs 4%, odds ratio = 5.1, 95% confidence interval 1.5-17.6, p = 0.02), whereas no difference was observed regarding the H63D mutation (30.4% vs 31%, odds ratio = 1, 95% confidence interval 0.4-2.4, p = 1). Biochemical tests in PCT patients showed iron overload with transferrin saturation = 47.3 +/- 20.7% and ferritin = 566.8 +/- 425 ng/ml. Fifteen of 23 (65.2%) patients had HCV infection and alcohol ingestion was observed in 17 of 23 (73.9%).


PCT patients exhibited evidence of iron overload, a high frequency of HCV, and an association with C282Y mutation. These data further support the notion that both acquired and inherited factors contribute to the occurrence of PCT, and indicate that screening for C282Y may be justified in PCT patients.

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