20-year follow-up study of Danish HHT patients-survival and causes of death

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2016 Nov 22;11(1):157. doi: 10.1186/s13023-016-0533-9.


Background: Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) is a dominantly inheritable disorder, with a wide variety of clinical manifestations due to presence of multiple arteriovenous manifestations. The most common mutations are found in HHT1 (ENG) and HHT2 (ACVRL1) patients, causing alterations in the TGF-β pathway which is responsible for angiogenesis. Modulations of angiogenesis may influence cancer rates. The objective of the study was to evaluate 20-year survival according to HHT subtype, as well as to evaluate differences in causes of death comparing HHT patients and controls. We also wanted to investigate whether cancer morbidity among HHT patients differs from that among controls.

Results: We included all HHT patients in the County of Fyn, Denmark, prevalent as of January 1st 1995 in total 73 HHT patients. In addition three age- and sex- matched controls per HHT patient were evaluated, in total 218 controls (one was lost due to registration failure). The controls were defined at start of follow-up in 1995. Information on lifestyle factors was not available. A total of 32 (44%) HHT patients and 97 (44%) controls passed away during follow-up. The survival curves were evenly distributed showing similar survival rates in the two groups. Cancer diagnoses had been registered in the follow-up period in 4 (5%) HHT patients and in 38 (17%) controls.

Conclusion: The mortality was not increased among Danish HHT patients compared to controls. This study is based on a clinical unselected series of HHT patients with the whole spectrum of severity, independent of need for medical care. Our data also suggest that HHT patients to a lesser degree than the background population are affected by cancer.

Keywords: Cancer; Causes of death; HHT; Survival; Telangiectasia Haemorrhagic Hereditary.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cause of Death*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longevity*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / epidemiology
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / mortality*
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / pathology*
  • Young Adult