Porphyria cutanea tarda is the most common subtype of porphyria. The disease is named because it is a porphyria that often presents with skin manifestations later in life. The disorder results from low levels of the enzyme responsible for the fifth step in heme production. Heme is a vital molecule for all of the body's organs. It is a component of hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in the blood.
Hepatoerythropoietic porphyria has been described as a homozygous form of porphyria cutanea tarda, although it can also be caused if two different mutations occur at the same locus.