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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Sep;27(9-10):837-44. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2013-0369.

Counseling patients with succinate dehydrogenase subunit defects: genetics, preventive guidelines, and dealing with uncertainty.


The discovery that mutations in the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) complex subunit (SDHA, B/C/D/AF2) genes predispose patients to the development of tumors has led to the identification of a large population of patients and relatives at risk for developing malignancies. The most frequent conditions associated with these mutations are the familial paraganglioma syndromes. Other tumors that are frequently associated with SDH mutations (SDHx) are gastrointestinal stromal tumors and renal cell carcinomas. A number of other rare associations have also been described. SDHx mutations are often clinically silent and metastatic, but they may also be aggressive in their presentation. The penetrance of these mutations is beginning to be understood, and the characteristics of the phenotype are being elucidated. However, the inability to accurately predict the appearance, nature, and location of tumors as well as their tendency to recur or metastasize pose challenges to those who counsel and manage patients with SDHx mutations. In this work, we present our approach for counseling these families in the context of the current uncertainties, while striving to maintain patient autonomy.

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