EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines


Iron overload in humans is associated with a variety of genetic and acquired conditions. Of these, HFE hemochromatosis (HFE-HC) is by far the most frequent and most well-defined inherited cause when considering epidemiological aspects and risks for iron-related morbidity and mortality. The majority of patients with HFE-HC are homozygotes for the C282Y polymorphism [1]. Without therapeutic intervention, there is a risk that iron overload will occur, with the potential for tissue damage and disease. While a specific genetic test now allows for the diagnosis of HFE-HC, the uncertainty in defining cases and disease burden, as well as the low phenotypic penetrance of C282Y homozygosity poses a number of clinical problems in the management of patients with HC. This Clinical Practice Guideline will therefore, focus on HFE-HC, while rarer forms of genetic iron overload recently attributed to pathogenic mutations of transferrin receptor 2, (TFR2), hepcidin (HAMP), hemojuvelin (HJV), or to a sub-type of ferroportin (FPN) mutations, on which limited and sparse clinical and epidemiologic data are available, will not be discussed. We have developed recommendations for the screening, diagnosis, and management of HFE-HC.