Cryptogenic cirrhosis and sitosterolemia: A treatable disease if identified but fatal if missed

Fateh Bazerbachi, Erin E. Conboy, Taofic Mounajjed, Kymberly D. Watt, Dusica Babovic-Vuksanovic, Shailendra B. Patel, Patrick S. Kamath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Sitosterolemia is an autosomal recessive metabolic disease caused by mutations in ABCG5 or ABCG8 genes which encode for the (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporters that are responsible for the trafficking of xenosterols. Liver involvement is not a recognized manifestation of this disease, and cirrhosis has been reported only once in the medical literature. We describe a fatal case of a 21-year old South Asian male who presented with decompensated cirrhosis, and biochemical abnormalities consistent with sitosterolemia. Genetic testing showed a homozygous pathogenic mutation in ABCG5, confirming the diagnosis. Sitosterolemia is a rare, but likely under-recognized condition, and a high degree of suspicion is imperative to make the diagnosis. We propose that sitosterolemia should be included in the differential diagnosis for patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis, especially as there are effective oral therapies to treat this condition. Newly diagnosed sitosterolemia patients should undergo a thorough hepatology evaluation and follow-up to evaluate for the presence, development, and progression of any hepatic involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-978
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of hepatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • ABCG5
  • ABCG8
  • Ascites
  • Cryptogenic cirrhosis
  • Idiopathic cirrhosis
  • Macrothrombocytopenia
  • Phytosterolemia
  • Plant sterols
  • Premature coronary artery disease
  • Sitosterolemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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