Diagnosis, treatment, and clinical outcomes in 43 cases with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis

P. Barton Duell, Gerald Salen, Florian S. Eichler, Andrea E. DeBarber, Sonja L. Connor, Lise Casaday, Suman Jayadev, Yasushi Kisanuki, Patamaporn Lekprasert, Mary J. Malloy, Ritesh A. Ramdhani, Paul E. Ziajka, Joseph F. Quinn, Kimmy G. Su, Andrew S. Geller, Margaret R. Diffenderfer, Ernst J. Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background: Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX) is a rare disorder due to defective sterol 27-hydroxylase causing a lack of chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) production and high plasma cholestanol levels. Objectives: Our objective was to review the diagnosis and treatment results in 43 CTX cases. Methods: We conducted a careful review of the diagnosis, laboratory values, treatment, and clinical course in 43 CTX cases. Results: The mean age at diagnosis was 32 years; the average follow-up was 8 years. Cases had the following conditions: 53% chronic diarrhea, 74% cognitive impairment, 70% premature cataracts, 77% tendon xanthomas, 81% neurologic disease, and 7% premature cardiovascular disease. The mean serum cholesterol concentration was 190 mg/dL; the mean plasma cholestanol level was 32 mg/L (normal <5.0 mg/L), which decreased to 6.0 mg/L (−81%) with CDCA therapy generally given as 250 mg orally 3 times daily. Of those tested on treatment, 63% achieved cholestanol levels of <5.0 mg/L; 91% had normal liver enzyme levels; none had significant liver problems after dose adjustment. Treatment improved symptoms in 57% at follow-up, but 20% with advanced disease continued to deteriorate. In the United States, CDCA has been approved for gallstone dissolution, but not for CTX despite long-term efficacy and safety data. Conclusions: Health care providers seeing young patients with tendon xanthomas and relatively normal cholesterol levels, especially those with cataracts and learning problems, should consider the diagnosis of CTX so they can receive treatment. CDCA should receive regulatory approval to facilitate therapy for the prevention of the complications of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1169-1178
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of clinical lipidology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Bile acid
  • CYP27A1 gene
  • Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis
  • Chenodeoxycholic acid
  • Cholestanol
  • Cholesterol biosynthesis
  • Neurologic abnormality
  • Xanthomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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