A rare condition in haematological practice - Gaucher disease

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Gaucher disease, which is caused by an inherited glucocerebrosidase deficiency, is the most prevalent lysosomal storage disease worldwide. Estimated prevalence of Gaucher disease is 1:50,000 in most countries and the disease has its highest incidence in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Type 1 (non-neuropathic) Gaucher disease is by far the most common form. Gaucher disease type 1 should be considered in cases of unexplained splenomegaly with or without bleeding diathesis, skeletal manifestations or hepatomegaly. Diagnosis is made by demonstrating decreased glucocerebrosidase activity in peripheral blood leucocytes. Dried blood spots can be used for screening but conventional enzyme assay on heparinised blood is essential. Patients with Gaucher disease may have extensive organ involvement despite relatively minor overt symptomatology. Evidence suggests that Gaucher disease may remain undiagnosed for years, leading to severe complications that are preventable or reversible with enzyme replacement therapy. These complications include avascular necrosis, severe bleeding, chronic bone pain, pathological fractures, growth failure, liver pathology and life-threatening sepsis. Most patients with Gaucher disease are initially evaluated by a haematologist-oncologist. Improved education is needed to enable prompt detection of Gaucher disease. An increased risk of multiple myeloma and haematological and non-haematological malignancies has been reported in type 1 Gaucher disease. This review aims to offer familiarisation with a rare disorder in haematological practice, focusing on adult patient management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Oncology and Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Cancer
  • Diagnosis
  • Gaucher disease
  • Glucocerebrosidase
  • Haematological malignancy
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undermined significance (MGUS)
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Splenomegaly
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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