Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) in Turkey: Results of a Nationwide Multicenter Study


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Abstract

Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an autosomal recessive disease that is prevalent among eastern Mediterranean populations, mainly non-Ashkenazi Jews, Armenians, Turks, and Arabs. Since a large proportion of all the FMF patients in the world live in Turkey, the Turkish FMF Study Group (FMF-TR) was founded to develop a patient registry database and analyze demographic, clinical, and genetic features.The cohort was composed of 2838 patients (mean age, 23.0 ± 13.33 yr; range, 2-87 yr), with a male:female ratio of 1.2:1. There was a mean period of 6.9 ± 7.65 years from disease onset to diagnosis; the period was about 2 years shorter for each decade since 1981. Ninety-four percent of patients were living in the central-western parts of the country; however, their familial origins (70% from the central-eastern and Black Sea regions) reflected not only the ongoing east to west migration, but also the historical roots of FMF in Turkey.Patients' clinical features included peritonitis (93.7%), fever (92.5%), arthritis (47.4%), pleuritis (31.2%), myalgia (39.6%), and erysipelas-like erythema (20.9%). Arthritis, arthralgia, myalgia, and erysipelas-like erythema were significantly more frequent (p < 0.001) among patients with disease onset before the age of 18 years.Genetic analysis of 1090 patients revealed that M694V was the most frequent mutation (51.4%), followed by M680I (14.4%) and V726A (8.6%). Patients with the M694V/M694V genotype were found to have an earlier age of onset and higher frequencies of arthritis and arthralgia compared with the other groups (both p < 0.001). In contrast to other reported studies, there was no correlation between amyloidosis and M694V homozygosity in this cohort. However, amyloidosis was still remarkably frequent in our patients (12.9%), and it was prevalent (27.8%) even among the 18 patients with a disease onset after age 40 years. Twenty-two patients (0.8%) had nonamyloid glomerular diseases.The high prevalence of vasculitides (0.9% for polyarteritis nodosa and 2.7% for Henoch-Schönlein purpura) and high frequency of pericarditis (1.4%) were striking findings in the cohort. Phenotype II cases (those patients with amyloidosis as the presenting or only manifestation of disease) were rare (0.3% or less). There was a high rate of a past diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever, which suggested a possible misdiagnosis in children with FMF presenting with recurrent arthritis.To our knowledge, this is the largest series of patients with FMF reported from 1 country. We describe the features of the disease in the Turkish population and show that amyloidosis is still a substantial problem.

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