Analysis of the causes of the misdiagnosis of hereditary spherocytosis

Oncol Rep. 2018 Sep;40(3):1451-1458. doi: 10.3892/or.2018.6578. Epub 2018 Jul 13.


Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is an inherited hemolytic disease with clinical diversities. The aim of the present study was to examine the reasons for prolonged misdiagnosis and mistherapy of HS in a Chinese patient, and to summarize the laboratory screening and treatment methods for this disease in increasing the knowledge towards HS. Clinical data of the proband was reviewed. The proband was first screened by detection of eosin-5'-maleimide (EMA)-labeled red blood cells (RBCs) using flow cytometry. The type of protein defect in the extracted RBC membrane proteins was confirmed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Mutant fragments were verified using direct DNA sequencing and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectroscopy. The proband showed a significant hemolytic tendency and significant reduction in the number of EMA-labeled RBCs. DNA sequencing indicated three site mutations in the SPTA1 gene, including His54Pro, Leu1858Val and 6531-12C>T. Additional DNA analysis of the three mutations in the parents of the proband showed that both the Leu1858Val and 6531‑12C>T mutations were carried by the father and the His54Pro mutation was carried by the mother. Moreover, the mutated peptides were identified by MALDI-TOF mass spectroscopy. HS has diverse clinical manifestations and is easily missed, misdiagnosed and mistreated. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis involving a routine blood test, blood smear, EMA labeling (flow cytometry) and SDS-PAGE can effectively distinguish HS from thalassemia, glucose-6-phosphate deficiency, iron-deficiency anemia and autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Prognosis
  • Spherocytosis, Hereditary / diagnosis*
  • Spherocytosis, Hereditary / genetics*


  • Membrane Proteins