Nephropathic cystinosis in Poland: a 40-year retrospective study

Pol Arch Intern Med. 2022 Nov 25;132(11):16320. doi: 10.20452/pamw.16320. Epub 2022 Aug 22.


Introduction: Nephropathic cystinosis (NC) is a rare, autosomal recessive disorder leading to lysosomal accumulation of cystine. It is caused by mutations in the CTNS gene encoding a cystine cotransporter cystinosin. The infantile (INC) and juvenile (JNC) forms are distinguished. The former, responsible for 95% of cases, is characterized by development of renal Fanconi syndrome, end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), and extrarenal complications. A therapy with cysteamine significantly improves outcomes. There are limited data on NC in the Central Eastern European countries.

Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the prevalence, genetic background, and clinical course of NC in the Polish population.

Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of data of all identified NC patients in Poland.

Results: Between 1982 and 2017, 15 patients with NC (13 ICN, 2 JCN) were identified. The most common mutations of the CTNS gene were c.18_c.21delGACT and c.681+1G>A, whereas only 2 patients carried the 57 kb deletion. The majority (11/13) of INC patients with limited access to the cysteamine therapy developed ESKD at a median age of 11 years and 9 of them received kidney transplants. Three INC patients died at a median age of 24 years. In contrast, 2 INC patients treated adequately present normal kidney function and growth at the age of 13 and 11 years. Two JNC patients presented a milder course.

Conclusions: The prevalence of NC in Poland is much lower than in the Western countries and its molecular background appears to be different. The unfavorable course in the majority of INC patients was caused by a limited access to the cysteamine treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cysteamine / therapeutic use
  • Cystine / therapeutic use
  • Cystinosis* / complications
  • Cystinosis* / drug therapy
  • Cystinosis* / epidemiology
  • Fanconi Syndrome* / chemically induced
  • Fanconi Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Fanconi Syndrome* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / etiology
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Cysteamine
  • Cystine