New tools for Wilson’s disease diagnosis: exchangeable copper fraction

France Woimant, Nouzha Djebrani-Oussedik, Aurélia Poujois


Wilson’s disease (WD) biochemical markers continue to evolve. Classical tests [serum copper, serum ceruloplasmin (Cp), urinary copper] have their own limits, and they are often insufficient to diagnose or exclude WD. So, calculated estimation of copper that is not bound to Cp has been proposed, but it is flawed. Therefore, we focused our research on a direct measurement of serum copper labile fraction. Exchangeable copper (CuEXC) offers a correct view of the free copper overload. It provides information on the spread and severity of WD. Relative exchangeable copper (REC) (percentage of exchangeable to total serum copper) that appreciates the toxic fraction of copper in blood is an excellent biomarker for WD diagnosis. These two tests are reliable and non-invasive. They give rapid answers for an appropriate diagnosis and make possible to start the treatment quickly without waiting for the result of the genetic tests. As early diagnosis and treatment are the keystones of successful management of patients with WD, different teams have already applied these tests in a routine framework to a large number of patients.