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Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2012 Jun;10(6 Suppl 8):1-16.

Disease state awareness in Gaucher disease: a Q&A expert roundtable discussion.

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Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Gaucher disease is an inherited lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in the gene that encodes the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase. Inadequate enzymatic activity causes cells to become engorged due to an accumulation of glycolipids. Engorged cells then accumulate in various organs, resulting in a range of signs and symptoms. Gaucher disease occurs worldwide but is more common among individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Approximately 90% of patients with Gaucher disease have non-neuronopathic (type 1) disease, which is characterized by hematologic sequelae, potentially disabling skeletal complications, and late-onset neurologic complications. The other 2 subtypes of Gaucher disease cause neuronopathic disease, with early involvement of the central nervous system. Type 2 Gaucher disease results in death in infancy, while type 3 disease causes variable neurologic manifestations ranging from minimal ocular effects to seizures, ataxia, and cognitive regression. Because of its relative rarity, Gaucher disease often remains misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for some time. However, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential for reducing the risk of complications, improving quality of life, and avoiding inappropriate procedures. Given the prevalence of hematologic manifestations associated with this condition, patients with undiagnosed Gaucher disease may seek treatment from hematologists or oncologists. Therefore, hematology and oncology clinicians need to be aware of the potential for Gaucher disease and consider it in their differential diagnosis.

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