Pediatric hypophosphatasia: lessons learned from a retrospective single-center chart review of 50 children

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2020 Aug 18;15(1):212. doi: 10.1186/s13023-020-01500-x.


Background: Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is a rare, inherited metabolic disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the ALPL gene that encodes the tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase TNAP (ORPHA 436). Its clinical presentation is highly heterogeneous with a remarkably wide-ranging severity. HPP affects patients of all ages. In children HPP-related musculoskeletal symptoms may mimic rheumatologic conditions and diagnosis is often difficult and delayed. To improve the understanding of HPP in children and in order to shorten the diagnostic time span in the future we studied the natural history of the disease in our large cohort of pediatric patients. This single centre retrospective chart review included longitudinal data from 50 patients with HPP diagnosed and followed at the University Children's Hospital Wuerzburg, Germany over the last 25 years.

Results: The cohort comprises 4 (8%) perinatal, 17 (34%) infantile and 29 (58%) childhood onset HPP patients. Two patients were deceased at the time of data collection. Diagnosis was based on available characteristic clinical symptoms (in 88%), low alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity (in 96%), accumulating substrates of AP (in 58%) and X-ray findings (in 48%). Genetic analysis was performed in 48 patients (31 compound heterozygous, 15 heterozygous, 2 homozygous mutations per patient), allowing investigations on genotype-phenotype correlations. Based on anamnestic data, median age at first clinical symptoms was 3.5 months (min. 0, max. 107), while median time to diagnosis was 13 months (min. 0, max. 103). Common symptoms included: impairment of motor skills (78%), impairment of mineralization (72%), premature loss of teeth (64%), musculoskeletal pain and craniosynostosis (each 64%) and failure to thrive (62%). Up to now 20 patients started medical treatment with Asfotase alfa.

Conclusions: Reported findings support the clinical perception of HPP being a chronic multi-systemic disease with often delayed diagnosis. Our natural history information provides detailed insights into the prevalence of different symptoms, which can help to improve and shorten diagnostics and thereby lead to an optimised medical care, especially with promising therapeutic options such as enzyme-replacement-therapy with Asfotase alfa in mind.

Keywords: Alkaline phosphatase; Asfotase alfa; Hypophosphatasia; Osteomalacia; Rare bone disease; Rickets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / genetics
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Enzyme Replacement Therapy
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Hypophosphatasia* / diagnosis
  • Hypophosphatasia* / drug therapy
  • Hypophosphatasia* / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Alkaline Phosphatase