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Genetic modifiers of sickle cell anemia in the BABY HUG cohort: influence on laboratory and clinical phenotypes.

Authors
  • Sheehan, Vivien A1
  • Luo, Zhaoyu
  • Flanagan, Jonathan M
  • Howard, Thad A
  • Thompson, Bruce W
  • Wang, Winfred C
  • Kutlar, Abdullah
  • Ware, Russell E
  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, Hematology Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Type
Published Article
Journal
American Journal of Hematology
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2013
Volume
88
Issue
7
Pages
571–576
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/ajh.23457
PMID: 23606168
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The recently completed BABY HUG trial investigated the safety and efficacy of hydroxyurea in infants with sickle cell anemia (SCA). To investigate the effects of known genetic modifiers, genomic DNA on 190 randomized subjects were analyzed for alpha thalassemia, beta-globin haplotype, polymorphisms affecting endogenous fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels (XmnI, BCL11A, and HBS1L-MYB), UGT1A1 promoter polymorphisms, and the common G6PD A(-) mutation. At study entry, infants with alpha thalassemia trait had significantly lower mean corpuscular volume, total bilirubin, and absolute reticulocyte count. Beta-globin haplotypes associated with milder disease had significantly higher hemoglobin and %HbF. BCL11A and XmnI polymorphisms had significant effects on baseline HbF, while UGT1A1 promoter polymorphisms significantly influenced baseline serum bilirubin. At study exit, subjects randomized to placebo still exhibited laboratory effects of alpha thalassemia and other modifiers, while those assigned hydroxyurea had treatment effects that exceeded most genetic influences. The pain phenotype was influenced by HbF modifiers in both treatment groups. These data document that genetic polymorphisms do modify laboratory and clinical phenotypes even in very young patients with SCA. The hydroxyurea effects are more potent, however, indicating that treatment criteria should not be limited to certain genetic subsets, and supporting the use of hydroxyurea for all young patients with SCA.

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