The Italian registry for patients with Prader-Willi syndrome

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2023 Feb 15;18(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s13023-023-02633-5.


Background: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare and complex genetic disease, with numerous implications on metabolic, endocrine, neuropsychomotor systems, and with behavioural and intellectual disorders. Rare disease patient registries are important scientific tools (1) to collect clinical and epidemiologic data, (2) to assess the clinical management including the diagnostic delay, (3) to improve patients' care and (4) to foster research to identify new therapeutic solutions. The European Union has recommended the implementation and use of registries and databases. The main aims of this paper are to describe the process of setting up the Italian PWS register, and to illustrate our preliminary results.

Materials and methods: The Italian PWS registry was established in 2019 with the aims (1) to describe the natural history of the disease, (2) to determine clinical effectiveness of health care services, (3) to measure and monitor quality of care of patients. Information from six different variables are included and collected into this registry: demographics, diagnosis and genetics, patient status, therapy, quality of life and mortality.

Results: A total of 165 patients (50.3% female vs 49.7% male) were included into Italian PWS registry in 2019-2020 period. Average age at genetic diagnosis was 4.6 years; 45.4% of patients was less than 17 years old aged, while the 54.6% was in adult age (> 18 years old). Sixty-one percent of subjects had interstitial deletion of the proximal long arm of paternal chromosome 15, while 36.4% had uniparental maternal disomy for chromosome 15. Three patients presented an imprinting centre defect and one had a de novo translocation involving chromosome 15. A positive methylation test was demonstrated in the remaining 11 individuals but the underlying genetic defect was not identified. Compulsive food-seeking and hyperphagia was present in 63.6% of patients (prevalently in adults); 54.5% of patients developed morbid obesity. Altered glucose metabolism was present in 33.3% of patients. Central hypothyroidism was reported in 20% of patients; 94.7% of children and adolescents and 13.3% of adult patients is undergoing GH treatment.

Conclusions: The analyses of these six variables allowed to highlight important clinical aspects and natural history of PWS useful to inform future actions to be taken by national health care services and health professionals.

Keywords: Genetic diseases; Prader–Willi syndrome; Quality; Rare diseases; Registry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / genetics
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries