Short telomere syndromes (STSs) are accelerated aging syndromes with multisystemic manifestations that present complex management challenges. In this article, we discuss a single-institution experience in diagnosing and managing patients with inherited STSs. In total, we identified 17 patients with short telomeres, defined by flow-fluorescence in-situ hybridization telomere lengths of less than first centile in granulocytes/lymphocytes OR the presence of a characteristic germline pathogenic variant in the context of a highly suggestive clinical phenotype. Genetic variations in the telomere complex were identified in 6 (35%) patients, with 4 being known pathogenic variants involving TERT (n=2), TERC (n=1), and DKC1 (n=1) genes, while 2 were variants of uncertain significance in TERT and RTEL1 genes. Idiopathic interstitial pneumonia (IIP) (n=12 [71%]), unexplained cytopenias (n=5 [29%]), and cirrhosis (n=2 [12%]) were most frequent clinical phenotypes at diagnosis. At median follow-up of 48 (range, 0-316) months, Kaplan-Meier estimate of overall survival, median (95% CI), was 182 (113, not reached) months. Treatment modalities included lung transplantation for IIP (n=5 [29%]), with 3 patients developing signs of acute cellular rejection (2, grade A2; 1, grade A1); danazol therapy for cytopenias (n=4 [24%]), with only 1 out of 4 patients showing a partial hematologic response; and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant for progressive bone marrow failure (n=2), with 1 patient dying from transplant-related complications. In summary, patients with STSs present with diverse clinical manifestations and require a multidisciplinary approach to management, with organ-specific transplantation capable of providing clinical benefit.
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