Predictors of eventual requirement of phenylalanine-restricted diet in young infants with phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency initially managed with sapropterin monotherapy


Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, vol.140, no.3, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 140 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2023.107706
  • Journal Name: Molecular Genetics and Metabolism
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Genotypic phenotype value, Phenylalanine hydroxylase, Phenylalanine-restricted diet, Phenylalanine: Tyrosine ratio, Sapropterin dihydrochloride, Tetrahydrobiopterin-responsive phenylketonuria
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Phenylalanine (Phe)-restricted diet is associated with lower quality of life for patients with phenylketonuria (PKU), and a concern for caregivers of recently-diagnosed infants. Sapropterin is an oral drug used as an alternative or adjunct to dietary treatment. We have observed that some of the young infants initially managed successfully with sapropterin monotherapy have required dietary treatment in long-term follow-up. We aimed to determine the baseline factors associated with future initiation of dietary treatment in these patients. Methods: Data were obtained retrospectively from the medical records of 80 PKU patients started on sapropterin monotherapy before 3 months of age between 2011 and 2021. Results: The patients were followed for a median of 3.9 years (Q1-Q3: 2.5–5.75 years). Sapropterin was tapered down and discontinued in 5 patients (6.3%) as their Phe levels remained below 360 μmol/L without treatment. Sapropterin monotherapy was sufficient in 62 patients (77.5%), while 13 (16.2%) required dietary treatment. Phe and tyrosine (Tyr) levels, and Phe:Tyr ratios differed significantly among the patients maintained on sapropterin monotherapy and those started on dietary treatment, but the Phe:Tyr ratio at diagnosis was the most important independent baseline variable (OR: 1.61, 95% CI: 1.15–2.27, p = 0.006), with Phe:Tyr ratio at diagnosis >5.25 associated with dietary treatment (sensitivity: 90.0%, specificity: 81.8%). Genotypic phenotype value (GPV), unavailable at baseline, was also associated with dietary treatment (median GPV 9.2 vs. 3.8, p = 0.006), but some genotypes were not specific to the final treatment modality. Discussion: We propose that the Phe:Tyr ratio at diagnosis is an important indicator to predict dietary requirement in young infants initially managed with sapropterin monotherapy.