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Neth J Med. 2001 Nov;59(5):235-43.

Molecular genetic aspects of Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease and criteria for DNA analysis in subjects at risk.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. Box 85090, 3508 AB, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is an autosomal, dominantly inherited tumour syndrome. Carriers of a germline mutation in the VHL tumour suppressor gene tumours are predisposed to develop tumours that are multicentric or bilateral, and manifest at a younger age than in situations without a VHL germline mutation. The mutation spectrum is heterogeneous, with mutations scattered throughout most of the VHL gene. Although some recurrent mutations have been reported, most families have their own unique germline mutation. Tested individuals are no longer uncertain regarding their risk for developing the disease and family members who are non-carriers are relieved of the burden of repeated clinical monitoring.VHL germline mutations are identified in virtually all families and sporadic patients with classic VHL disease, but also in patients who do not meet clinical diagnostic criteria. The chance of finding a VHL germline mutation in (apparently) sporadic patients not fulfilling the criteria increases with: young age at diagnosis, the presence of multi-centric or bilateral tumours, involvement of multiple organs and a positive family history of VHL associated tumours.

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