Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2): A clinical and molecular review

Medical Genetics Research Group, Regional Genetics Service and National Molecular Genetics Reference Laboratory, Central Manchester Foundation Trust, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester M130JH, UK.
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases (Impact Factor: 3.96). 07/2009; 4:16. DOI: 10.1186/1750-1172-4-16
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is a tumour-prone disorder characterised by the development of multiple schwannomas and meningiomas. Prevalence (initially estimated at 1: 200,000) is around 1 in 60,000. Affected individuals inevitably develop schwannomas, typically affecting both vestibular nerves and leading to hearing loss and deafness. The majority of patients present with hearing loss, which is usually unilateral at onset and may be accompanied or preceded by tinnitus. Vestibular schwannomas may also cause dizziness or imbalance as a first symptom. Nausea, vomiting or true vertigo are rare symptoms, except in late-stage disease. The other main tumours are schwannomas of the other cranial, spinal and peripheral nerves; meningiomas both intracranial (including optic nerve meningiomas) and intraspinal, and some low-grade central nervous system malignancies (ependymomas). Ophthalmic features are also prominent and include reduced visual acuity and cataract. About 70% of NF2 patients have skin tumours (intracutaneous plaque-like lesions or more deep-seated subcutaneous nodular tumours). Neurofibromatosis type 2 is a dominantly inherited tumour predisposition syndrome caused by mutations in the NF2 gene on chromosome 22. More than 50% of patients represent new mutations and as many as one-third are mosaic for the underlying disease-causing mutation. Although truncating mutations (nonsense and frameshifts) are the most frequent germline event and cause the most severe disease, single and multiple exon deletions are common. A strategy for detection of the latter is vital for a sensitive analysis. Diagnosis is based on clinical and neuroimaging studies. Presymptomatic genetic testing is an integral part of the management of NF2 families. Prenatal diagnosis and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is possible. The main differential diagnosis of NF2 is schwannomatosis. NF2 represents a difficult management problem with most patients facing substantial morbidity and reduced life expectancy. Surgery remains the focus of current management although watchful waiting with careful surveillance and occasionally radiation treatment have a role. Prognosis is adversely affected by early age at onset, a higher number of meningiomas and having a truncating mutation. In the future, the development of tailored drug therapies aimed at the genetic level are likely to provide huge improvements for this devastating condition.

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    ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is a rare dominantly inherited disease. Its clinical presentation can be completely different in children and adults and early diagnosis is often difficult. The NF2 gene molecular analysis can help for diagnosis, but its result can be negative in case of NF2 mosaicism. We report the case of a 43-year-old man who had developed a severe phenotype with bilateral vestibular schwannomas at 19years of age. His son presented a retinal hamartoma with loss of vision in his right eye at 2months of age. At 9years of age, asymptomatic schwannomas of the cranial nerves were discovered: cranial nerves X (left), XI (left), and VIII (bilateral). Partial constitutional NF2 deletion (from exons 2-7) was detected in his son. The deletion was not detectable in the DNA blood of his father and we strongly suspect a mosaic form of NF2. Ophthalmological manifestations can be the initial sign of NF2 in childhood. These features must be actively sought during the first year of life in individuals at risk of NF2. NF2 mosaicism is often described as a mild form of NF2 with a very low risk of transmission to the carrier's children. We show that NF2 mosaicism can sometimes develop severe NF2 symptoms and we confirm that the transmission risk to the offspring depends on the proportion of zygotes carrying the mutation. NF2 remains a life-limiting and life-spoiling condition. Early diagnosis is necessary to prevent complications and the follow-up of NF2 patients must be organized throughout life in specialty centers. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
    Archives de Pédiatrie 11/2014; 21(11):1233-40. DOI:10.1016/j.arcped.2014.08.031 · 0.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to describe changes in hearing over time in patients with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) treated conservatively. A retrospective case review was conducted in a tertiary referral centre. Pure tone audiometry, speech discrimination scores, serviceable hearing (American Academy of Otolaryngology class A or B) and measurement of vestibular schwannoma (VS) size on magnetic resonance imaging were evaluated in 56 patients (89 ears) with NF2 with at least one conservatively managed VS. Over a mean follow-up period of 7 years (range 0.8–21 years) pure tone average thresholds increased gradually with a mean annual rate of 1.3 dB for the right ear (p = 0.0003) and 2 dB for the left ear (p = 0.0009). Speech discrimination scores dropped with an average annual rate of 1.3 and 0.34 % in the right and left ear, respectively. Patients maintained serviceable hearing for an average of 7.6 years (range 2.7–19.3 years). The average annual VS growth was 0.4 mm without any correlation with hearing loss. There was a correlation between patients’ age and pure tone threshold increase (p < 0.05 for both ears). In this selected population of patients with NF2, hearing threshold increases were very slow. In NF2 patients with indolently behaving tumours, serviceable hearing can be maintained for a significant length of time, making conservative management an attractive option.
    European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology. Supplement 10/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00405-014-3317-7
  • 01/2015; 6(1):120-1. DOI:10.4103/0976-3147.143219

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