INTRODUCTION Pheochromocytomas (Pheo) can occur sporadically, isolated or in association with other neuroendocrine lesions. In multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A (MEN-2A), Pheo is associated to medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or its precursor, C-cell hyperplasia (CCH) and parathyroid hyperplasia. Genetic screening provides early diagnosis and preventive treatment. In order to validate DNA analysis as a reliable method of early identification of gene carriers, we compared the results of genetic screening with clinical, biochemical, imaging and pathological findings in the members of an affected family. POPULATION AND METHODS The diagnosis of a bilateral necrotic Pheo in a female patient led to the study of a family with four generations, aged 3 to 78 years (mean = 30.3 yrs). The study included a clinical examination; basal and pentagastrin stimulated calcitonin values; urinary catecholamines and their metabolites; serum calcium and a genetic study (direct sequence of PCR products from genomic DNA isolated from leucocytes using specific primers in exon 11 of the RET protooncogene of chromosome 10). The radiologic study, gammagraphic study (131I-MIBG) and magnetic resonance study were performed in members with clinical suspicion of Pheo. RESULTS Seven out of nine patients had a mutation on codon 634 of exon 11 of RET (TGC-CGC), leading to cysteine arginine substitution in the codified protein; all gene carriers had biochemical markers of MTC/CCH and four of Pheo. The Pheo patients underwent adrenalectomy (bilateral in three) and all the gene carriers underwent prophylactic thyroidectomy. The pathologic findings were: MTC in four (metastasized in one); CCH in three and parathyroid hyperplasia in one. CONCLUSIONS Phenotypic penetration of RET mutation was 100% for MTC/CCH, but only 57% of the gene carriers had Pheo. Genetic screening allowed early prophylactic treatment in four out of seven patients; pathologic findings revealed several evolutionary stages of the disease. Patients not yet showing Pheo are under close clinical and laboratory surveillance.
|Journal||Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2000|