Purpose of review
Cystinuria is a rare genetic disease with increased urinary excretion of the poorly soluble amino acid cystine. It can lead to significant morbidity in affected patients due to the often large and recurrent resulting kidney stones. Treatment is focused on the prevention of stone formation. There have been few advances in the available therapeutic options for the disorder in the last 15–20 years.
Although no new treatments have emerged in the prevention of cystinuria in recent years, several developments hold promise for advancing the field of caring for affected patients. A new method of measuring urinary cystine and estimating potential for stone formation, called cystine capacity, may prove to be a useful tool in monitoring the disease. The discoveries of the mutations that cause cystinuria have led to a new classification system based on genotype that is more accurate than the prior phenotypic one. The finding of new compounds that inhibit cystine crystal growth in vitro,
now being tested in animal models, may lead to new potential therapies in years to come. The Rare Kidney Stone Consortium has developed a registry and hopes to lead further efforts in dealing with cystinuria.
With several recent advances in the monitoring and treatment of cystinuria, and the gathering of clinical patient data, there are now opportunities for new management protocols and therapies.