Precision medicine in Fabry disease

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2021 Jun 22;36(Suppl 2):14-23. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfab038.


Fabry disease (FD) is a rare X-linked lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in the α-galactosidase A (GLA) gene, leading to a deficiency in α-galactosidase A. The lysosomal accumulation of glycosphingolipids, primarily globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) and its deacylated form, globotriaosylsphingosine (lyso-Gb3), results in progressive renal failure, cardiomyopathy associated with cardiac arrhythmia and recurrent cerebrovascular events, significantly limiting life expectancy in affected patients. In male patients, a definitive diagnosis of FD involves demonstrating a GLA deficiency in leucocytes. In females, because of the potential high residual enzymatic activity, the diagnostic gold standard requires molecular genetic analyses. The current treatment options for FD include recombinant enzyme replacement therapies (ERTs) with intravenous agalsidase-α (0.2 mg/kg body weight) or agalsidase-β (1 mg/kg body weight) every 2 weeks as well as an oral pharmacological chaperone (migalastat 123 mg every other day) that selectively and reversibly binds to the active sites of amenable mutant forms of the GLA enzyme. These therapies facilitate cellular Gb3 clearance and an overall improvement of disease burden. However, ERT can lead to infusion-associated reactions, as well as the formation of neutralizing anti-drug antibodies in ∼40% of all ERT-treated males, leading to an attenuation of therapy efficacy. This article reviews the clinical presentation, diagnosis and interdisciplinary clinical management of FD and discusses the therapeutic options, with a special focus on precision medicine, accounting for individual variability in genetic mutations, Gb3 and lyso-Gb3 levels, allowing physicians to predict more accurately which prevention and treatment strategy is best for which patient.

Keywords: Fabry disease; chaperone therapy; precision medicine; renal replacement therapy; α-galactosidase A.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme Replacement Therapy
  • Fabry Disease* / diagnosis
  • Fabry Disease* / drug therapy
  • Fabry Disease* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Precision Medicine
  • alpha-Galactosidase / genetics
  • alpha-Galactosidase / therapeutic use


  • alpha-Galactosidase