Therapeutic approach with Ataluren in Duchenne symptomatic carriers with nonsense mutations in dystrophin gene. Results of a 9-month follow-up in a case report

Paola D’Ambrosio 1, Chiara Orsini 1, Vincenzo Nigro 2 and Luisa Politano 1

1 Cardiomyology and Medical Genetics, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Naples, Italy; 2 Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Department of Precision’s Medicine, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Naples, Italy

Duchenne muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a X-linked degenerative disorder affecting skeletal muscles and myocardium caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, mainly deletions and duplications. Point-mutations account for 13% and stop codon mutations are even more unfrequent. A drug treatment for patients with DMD caused by stop codon gene mutations and still ambulant, has become recently available, based on the clear demonstration of its efficacy in slowing the course of the disease. The drug is able to read through the stop codon; furthermore it has the advantage of an oral administration and a better patient’s compliance. We report a case of a still ambulant 27 year-old DMD symptomatic carrier with a stop-codon mutation in exon 53 (c.7792C > T; p.Gln2598Stop), who started the treatment with Ataluren at a dosage of 2,250 mg/die, reporting a prompt subjective improvement in muscle strength. Unfortunately two months after, the patient discontinued taking the drug for a traumatic femur fracture requiring surgical repair and prolonged rehabilitation. With the resumption of the drug intake in February 2018, the patient reported almost immediately an improvement in motor skills, including the possibility of recovering walking, first with support and then unsupported. These results seem even more encouraging, as Duchenne patients hardly recover the ability to walk following a fracture at this age and extend the possibility to treat with ataluren also the symptomatic Duchenne carriers who have nonsense dystrophin gene mutations. Furthermore the case here reported supports the concept that symptomatic DMD female carriers must enjoy the same therapeutic opportunities offered to males.

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