Background: Hunter Syndrome is an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder due to the deficit of iduronate 2-sulfatase, an enzyme catalysing the degradation of the glycosaminoglycans (GAG) dermatan- and heparan-sulfate. Treatment of the disease is mainly performed by Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) with idursulfase, in use since 2006. Clinical efficacy of ERT has been monitored mainly by the Hunter Outcome Survey (HOS) while very few independent studies have been so far conducted. The present study is a 3.5-years independent follow-up of 27 Hunter patients, starting ERT between 1.6 and 27 years of age, with the primary aim to evaluate efficacy of the therapy started at an early age (<12 years).
Methods: In this study, we evaluated: urinary GAG content, hepato/splenomegaly, heart valvulopathies, otorinolaryngological symptoms, joint range of motion, growth, distance covered in the 6-minute walk test, neurological involvement. For data analysis, the 27 patients were divided into three groups according to the age at start of ERT: ≤5 years, >5 and ≤ 12 years and > 12 years. Patients were analysed both as 3 separate groups and also as one group; in addition, the 20 patients who started ERT up to 12 years of age were analysed as one group. Finally, patients presenting a "severe" phenotype were compared with "attenuated" ones.
Results: Data analysis revealed a statistically significant reduction of the urinary GAG in patients ≤5 years and ≤ 12 years and of the hepatomegaly in the group aged >5 and ≤ 12 years. Although other clinical signs improved in some of the patients monitored, statistical analysis of their variation did not reveal any significant changes following enzyme administration. The evaluation of ERT efficacy in relation to the severity of the disease evidenced slightly higher improvements as for hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, otological disorders and adenotonsillar hypertrophy in severe vs attenuated patients.
Conclusions: Although the present protocol of idursulfase administration may result efficacious in delaying the MPS II somatic disease progression at some extent, in this study we observed that several signs and symptoms did not improve during the therapy. Therefore, a strict monitoring of the efficacy obtained in the patients under ERT is becoming mandatory for clinical, ethical and economic reasons.