Interpretive Handbook

Test 61263 :
CPOX Gene, Full Gene Analysis

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Hereditary coproporphyria (HCP) is an autosomal dominant (AD) acute hepatic porphyria that presents with clinical attacks of neurologic dysfunction, commonly characterized as abdominal pain. However, these acute attacks are variable and can include vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, urinary retention, acute episodes of neuropathic symptoms, psychiatric symptoms, seizures, respiratory paralysis, tachycardia, and hypertension. Respiratory paralysis can progress to coma and death. HCP is also associated with cutaneous manifestations, including edema, sun-induced erythema, acute painful photodermatitis, and urticaria. In some cases, patients present with isolated photosensitivity.


HCP is caused by AD mutations in the CPOX gene. Mutations may have incomplete penetrance. Homozygous mutations in CPOX have been reported in association with a more severe, phenotypically distinct condition called harderoporphyria that is characterized by neonatal hemolytic anemia with mild residual anemia during childhood and adulthood. Affected patients may also present with skin lesions and fecal harderoporphyin accumulation may be observed. This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern and all patients identified to date have been heterozygous or homozygous for the K404E mutation.


For HCP, acute attacks may be prevented by avoiding both endogenous and exogenous triggers. These triggers include porphyrogenic drugs, hormonal contraceptives, fasting, alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis.


Fecal porphyrins analysis and quantitative urinary porphyrins analysis are helpful in distinguishing HCP from other forms of acute porphyria.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Confirmation of hereditary coproporphyria (HCP) for patients with clinical features


This test should be ordered only for individuals with symptoms suggestive of HCP. Asymptomatic patients with a family history of HCP should not be tested until a mutation has been identified in an affected family member.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

An interpretive report will be provided.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

A small percentage of individuals who are carriers, or have a diagnosis of, hereditary coproporphyria (HCP) may have a mutation that is not identified by this method (eg, large genomic deletions, promoter mutations). The absence of a mutation, therefore, does not eliminate the possibility of positive carrier status or the diagnosis of variegate. For carrier testing, it is important to first document the presence of a CPOX gene mutation in an affected family member.


In some cases, DNA alterations of undetermined significance may be identified.


Rare polymorphisms exist that could lead to false-negative or false-positive results. If results obtained do not match the clinical findings, additional testing should be considered.


A previous bone marrow transplant from an allogenic donor will interfere with testing. Call Mayo Medical Laboratories for instructions for testing patients who have received a bone marrow transplant.  


Test results should be interpreted in the context of clinical findings, family history, and other laboratory data. Errors in our interpretation of results may occur if information given is inaccurate or incomplete.


Mutations in other genes, such as PPOX and HMBS have been shown to cause other forms of porphyrias. Abnormalities in these genes are not detected by this assay.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Siegesmund M, van Tuyll van Serooskerken AM, Poblete-Gutierrez P, et al: The acute hepatic porphyrias: current status and future challenges. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2010 Oct;24(5):593-605

2. Anderson KE, Bloomer JR, Bonkovsky HL, et al: Recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of the acute porphyrias. Ann Intern Med 2005 Mar 15;142(6):439-450

3. Schmitt, C, Gouya L, Malonova E, et al: Mutations in human CPO gene predict clinical expression of either hereditary coproporphyria or erythropoietic harderoporphyria. Hum Mol Genet 2005;14(20):3089-3098