3 years ago

Fetal hemoglobin in sickle cell anemia: The Arab-Indian haplotype and new therapeutic agents

Martin H. Steinberg, Alawi H. Habara, Elmutaz M. Shaikho
Fetal hemoglobin (HbF) has well-known tempering effects on the symptoms of sickle cell disease and its levels vary among patients with different haplotypes of the sickle hemoglobin gene. Compared with sickle cell anemia haplotypes found in patients of African descent, HbF levels in Saudi and Indian patients with the Arab-Indian (AI) haplotype exceed that in any other haplotype by nearly twofold. Genetic association studies have identified some loci associated with high HbF in the AI haplotype but these observations require functional confirmation. Saudi patients with the Benin haplotype have HbF levels almost twice as high as African patients with this haplotype but this difference is unexplained. Hydroxyurea is still the only FDA approved drug for HbF induction in sickle cell disease. While most patients treated with hydroxyurea have an increase in HbF and some clinical improvement, 10 to 20% of adults show little response to this agent. We review the genetic basis of HbF regulation focusing on sickle cell anemia in Saudi Arabia and discuss new drugs that can induce increased levels of HbF.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/ajh.24872

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