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Genet Med. 2011 Dec;13(12):1032-41. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e31822beab1.

von Hippel-Lindau disease: surveillance strategy for endolymphatic sac tumors.

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  • 1Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. mlmp@sund.ku.dk



: Up to 16% of patients with the hereditary von Hippel-Lindau disease develop endolymphatic sac tumors of the inner ear. Early diagnosis and treatment of endolymphatic sac tumors can prevent audiovestibular morbidity, but optimal endolymphatic sac tumor surveillance strategy has yet to be determined. We aimed to evaluate endolymphatic sac tumor surveillance to determine the best surveillance strategy.


: In a national prospective study, 40 VHL mutation carriers were interviewed about audiovestibular symptoms and had audiological examinations and magnetic resonance imaging of the inner ear. Further, we performed a meta-analysis including all reported endolymphatic sac tumor von Hippel-Lindau disease cases in the literature (N = 140 with 156 endolymphatic sac tumors).


: In the prospective study, endolymphatic sac tumors were suspected based on audiovestibular symptoms, audiometry, and magnetic resonance imaging in 34%, 30%, and 12.5% of subjects, respectively. In total, more than 90% of radiologically diagnosed endolymphatic sac tumors were associated with abnormal audiometric findings. No endolymphatic sac tumor genotype-phenotype correlations were found.


: We recommend annual audiometry as a first-line endolymphatic sac tumor screening tool, and in countries where periodic surveillance magnetic resonance imaging of the central nervous system is performed, specific images of the inner ear should be included. Audiometric abnormalities in patients with von Hippel-Lindau disease without magnetic resonance imaging-visible endolymphatic sac tumors could be due to microscopic endolymphatic sac tumors. Determination of audiometric endolymphatic sac tumor characteristics could further target screening and improve endolymphatic sac tumor diagnosis.

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