Clinical, biochemical and genetic findings in adult patients with chronic hypophosphatasemia

V. Guarnieri, F. Sileri, R. Indirli, G. Guabello, M. Longhi, G. Dito, C. Verdelli, S. Corbetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The study aimed to define the clinical, biochemical and genetic features of adult patients with osteopenia/osteoporosis and/or bone fragility and low serum alkaline phosphatase (sALP). Methods: Twenty-two patients with at least two sALP values below the reference range were retrospectively enrolled after exclusion of secondary causes. Data about clinical features, mineral and bone markers, serum pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP), urine phosphoethanolamine (PEA), lumbar and femur bone densitometry, and column X-ray were collected. Peripheral blood DNA of each participant was analyzed to detect ALPL gene anomalies. Results: Pathogenic ALPL variants (pALPL) occurred in 23% and benign variants in 36% of patients (bALPL), while nine patients harbored wild-type alleles (wtALPL). Fragility fractures and dental anomalies were more frequent in patients harboring pALPL and bALPL than in wtALPL patients. Of note, wtALPL patients comprised women treated with tamoxifen for hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Mineral and bone markers were similar in the three groups. Mean urine PEA levels were significantly higher in patients harboring pALPL than those detected in patients harboring bALPL and wtALPL; by contrast, serum PLP levels were similar in the three groups. A 6-points score, considering clinical and biochemical features, was predictive of pALPL detection [P = 0.060, OR 1.92 (95% CI 0.972, 3.794)], and more significantly of pALPL or bALPL [P = 0.025, OR 14.33 (95% CI 1.401, 14.605)]. Conclusion: In osteopenic/osteoporotic patients, single clinical or biochemical factors did not distinguish hypophosphatasemic patients harboring pALPL or bALPL from those harboring wtALPL. Occurrence of multiple clinical and biochemical features is predictive of ALPL anomalies, and, therefore, they should be carefully identified. Tamoxifen emerged as a hypophosphatasemic drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-137
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • ALPL
  • Fractures
  • Hypophosphatasemia
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Total alkaline phosphatase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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