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New insights into the clinical evaluation of hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis patients: a single center's experience

Authors Suhr O, Gustavsson S, Heldestad V, Hörnsten R, Lindqvist P, Nordh E, Wiklund U

Received 4 April 2012

Accepted for publication 6 June 2012

Published 29 August 2012 Volume 2012:2 Pages 93—106


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Ole B Suhr,1 Sandra Gustavsson,1 Victoria Heldestad,2 Rolf Hörnsten,3 Per Lindqvist,1 Erik Nordh,2 Urban Wiklund4

1Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, 2Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience, 3Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Clinical Physiology, Heart Centre, 4Department of Radiation Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: Over the last decade, new medical treatment modalities have emerged based on increased insights into amyloid formation. With the increased possibilities for treatment of amyloidosis caused by transthyretin (TTR) amyloid deposits comes the need for diagnostic procedures for early diagnosis and better tools to follow disease progression. This is of particular importance in clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of new treatments. Until recently, the treatment of TTR amyloidosis (ATTR) was based solely on liver transplantation, a procedure that has halted disease progression in many patients. Liver transplantation has been especially effective in patients under the age of 50 years carrying the TTR V30M mutation, whereas the outcome of the procedure has been variable for others, particularly elderly male patients and those carrying a non-V30M mutation. This review concentrates on new insights derived from our center's experience with liver transplantation, how to implement this experience in evaluation of new treatment modalities for ATTR, and how to facilitate early diagnosis of neuropathy with easily available diagnostic tools. Attention has focused on manifestations of the disease that involve the heart and the peripheral nervous system; change in peripheral nerve function has been the primary endpoint in two controlled clinical trials, one finished and one ongoing. New insights into the amyloid formation process and the lessons learned from liver transplantation give the opportunity to design potentially effective treatment modalities for ATTR. It appears reasonable to suspect that a combination of different treatment modalities may be required to treat the disease, and that different treatment regimes will be designed according to the phenotype of the disease. For the patients and their relatives there is now a solid foundation for optimism, with prospects of several effective medical treatment possibilities within the coming decade.

Keywords: neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, amyloid, diagnostic tools, new treatment modalities

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