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Am J Med Genet A. 2011 Jan;155A(1):168-73. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.33760.

Genotype-phenotype correlations of pheochromocytoma in two large von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) type 2A kindreds with different missense mutations.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease type 2A is an inherited tumor syndrome characterized by predisposition to pheochromocytoma (pheo), retinal hemangioma (RA), and central nervous system hemangioblastoma (HB). Specific VHL subtypes display genotype-phenotype correlations but, unlike other familial syndromes such as MEN-2, the phenotype in VHL has not yet been stratified at the codon level. Over decades, we have managed two very large VHL type 2A regional kindreds with nearly adjacent but distinct VHL missense mutations. We determined the phenotype of Family 2 and compared the clinical and pathologic parameters of pheo between 30 members of Family 1 (Y112H mutation) and 33 members of Family 2 (Y98H mutation) with mean follow-up of 15.5 and 12.1 years, respectively (P = 0.24). In Family 2, pheo was the most frequent VHL manifestation (79%) and all pheo diagnoses occurred by age 50. Age at first diagnosis was younger in Family 2 than in Family 1 (mean 19.7 vs. 28.8 years; P = 0.02). Pheo expressivity differed by genotype: Family 1 pheo was more likely to be multifocal (P = 0.04), as well as malignant (P < 0.01) and lethal (P = 0.02). Family 1 pheo was also more likely to secrete vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) alone (P = 0.05). This analysis of 130 pheochromocytomas in 63 VHL type 2A patients demonstrates that mutation-specific malignancy and expression patterns exist within the VHL type 2A subtype, and provides information that may help tailor the screening and management algorithms of affected members and those at risk.

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