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Acta Derm Venereol. 2005;85(4):337-41.

Porphyria cutanea tarda in a Swedish population: risk factors and complications.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


There are varying reports on the prevalence of risk factors in porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). We reviewed 84 patients with PCT in a restricted uptake area in Gothenburg, Sweden and evaluated different potential risk factors for the disease and complications. Besides a thorough medical history, the patients were investigated with urinary porphyrin analyses, transferrin saturation, ferritin and liver tests. Subsamples of patients were tested for antibodies to hepatitis C virus (n = 68), haemochromatosis gene mutations (n = 58) and with the oral glucose tolerance test (n = 31). We found a prevalence of about 1 patient with PCT in 10 000 inhabitants. Nineteen (23%) patients reported heredity for PCT. Identified risk factors were alcohol abuse (38% of male patients), oestrogen treatment (55% of female patients), anti-hepatitis C virus positivity (29% of male patients), diabetes (17%) or impaired glucose tolerance (45% of tested patients) and haemochromatosis gene mutations (57% of tested patients). All patients positive for anti-hepatitis C virus belonged to the non-hereditary group. During follow-up we observed a high incidence of stroke, no case of hepatocellular carcinoma and a normal life expectancy.

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