CTF Meeting 2012: Translation of the Basic Understanding of the Biology and Genetics of NF1, NF2, and Schwannomatosis Toward the Development of Effective Therapies

American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A (Impact Factor: 2.16). 01/2014; 164(3). DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.a.36312
Source: PubMed


The neurofibromatoses (NF) are autosomal dominant genetic disorders that encompass the rare diseases NF1, NF2, and schwannomatosis. The NFs affect more people worldwide than Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington's disease combined. NF1 and NF2 are caused by mutations of known tumor suppressor genes (NF1 and NF2, respectively). For schwannomatosis, although mutations in SMARCB1 were identified in a subpopulation of schwannomatosis patients, additional causative gene mutations are still to be discovered. Individuals with NF1 may demonstrate manifestations in multiple organ systems, including tumors of the nervous system, learning disabilities, and physical disfigurement. NF2 ultimately can cause deafness, cranial nerve deficits, and additional severe morbidities caused by tumors of the nervous system. Unmanageable pain is a key finding in patients with schwannomatosis. Although today there is no marketed treatment for NF-related tumors, a significant number of clinical trials have become available. In addition, significant preclinical efforts have led to a more rational selection of potential drug candidates for NF trials. An important element in fueling this progress is the sharing of knowledge. For over 20 years the Children's Tumor Foundation has convened an annual NF Conference, bringing together NF professionals to share novel findings, ideas, and build collaborations. The 2012 NF Conference held in New Orleans hosted over 350 NF researchers and clinicians. This article provides a synthesis of the highlights presented at the conference and as such, is a "state-of-the-field" for NF research in 2012. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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    ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis 1 is a complex inherited neurocutaneous disease that is often difficult to diagnose early because of its age-dependent presentation. The diagnosis is also extremely difficult to communicate to patients and their parents because of the disease's clinical variability, unpredictable evolution, and uncertain prognosis. Since 1988, the year of publication of the last Consensus Conference statement concerning the diagnosis of neurofibromatosis 1, our understanding of the disease has naturally increased and, in addition to the availability of increasingly precise molecular analyses, some new clinical signs have been reported such as anaemic nevi, unidentified bright objects, choroidal hamartomas, and a typical neuropsychological phenotype. We critically review the current diagnostic criteria, and suggest the addition of new signs on the basis of published findings and our own clinical experience. This proposal aims to improve diagnostic power in paediatric age, securing a better and more reliable healthcare transition toward adult age. We finally recommend a new Consensus Conference in order to revise the diagnostic criteria, possibly differentiated by age of presentation.
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