Abstract: The uncommon sodium rare-earth phosphate mineral vitusite-(Ce) (Na3RE(PO4)2) can be considered as the extreme product of sodium and rare-earth substitution in the apatite structure. Lesser amounts of substitution provide sodium and rare-earth-bearing apatites up to about 80 mol.% exchange; beyond this point vitusite is the stable phase. The structure of vitusite, determined previously from a synthetic analogue, can also be considered as a derivative from apatite, but with cations exchanged on sites normally occupied by anions. Vitusite can therefore be considered as a sodium- and rare-earth-rich apatite end-member, with a distinct, but apatite-derived, structure, formed in highly persodic and high rare-earth environments. From an examination of the literature on diffusion in apatite, vitusite in principle could be formed from apatite sensu stricto by subsolidus diffusion in response to late-stage Na- and RE-rich hydrothermal fluids.