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01.12.2019 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2019

Porphyria cutanea tarda: a case report

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2019
Autoren:
Hanife Usta Atmaca, Feray Akbas

Abstract

Background

The porphyrias are a rare group of metabolic disorders that can either be inherited or acquired. Along the heme biosynthetic pathway, porphyrias can manifest with neurovisceral and/or cutaneous symptoms, depending on the defective enzyme. Porphyria cutanea tarda, the most common type of porphyria worldwide, is caused by a deficiency of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase, a crucial enzyme in heme biosynthesis, which results in an accumulation of photosensitive byproducts, such as uroporphyrinogen, which leads to the fragility and blistering of sun-exposed skin.
Porphyria cutanea tarda is a condition that affects the liver and skin by reduction and inhibition of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase enzyme in erythrocytes. Areas of skin that are exposed to the sun can generate blisters, hyperpigmentation, and, sometimes, lesions that heal leaving a scar or keratosis. Liver damage might present in a wide range of ways from liver function test abnormalities to hepatocellular carcinoma. The toxic effect of iron plays a role in liver damage pathogenesis.

Case presentation

A 59-year-old Turkish man presented with hyperpigmented skin lesions, fatigue, and elevated ferritin level and liver function tests. He was diagnosed as having porphyria cutanea tarda after a clinical investigation and treated with phlebotomy.

Conclusion

Porphyria cutanea tarda is a rare condition of the liver but it must be remembered in a differential diagnosis of liver disease with typical skin involvement to decrease morbidity and health costs with early treatment.

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