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Endocr J. 2016;63(1):87-91. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.EJ15-0399. Epub 2015 Oct 24.

A novel RET gene mutation in a patient with apparently sporadic pheochromocytoma.

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Endocrinology, Garibaldi Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy.


Pheochromocytoma (Pheo) is a chromaffin tumor arising from the adrenal medulla. The recent discovery of new germline mutations in RET, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, VHL, NF1, TMEM127, MAX genes, increased the rate of genetic disease from 10% to 28% in patients with apparently sporadic tumor. RET germline mutations cause multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 syndrome (MEN 2A) characterized by complete penetrance of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), and lower prevalence of Pheo and hyperparathyroidism. We describe the genetic etiology of an apparently sporadic case of monolateral Pheo in a 42-year-old male patient. A new (not previously reported) MEN 2A-associated germline RET mutation located in exon 11 (Glu632Gly, caused by an A>G point mutation at position 1895 of the RET cDNA) was found in the patient but not in his living first-degree relatives. This observation increases the number of possible germline RET mutations. Genotype-phenotype correlation of this new genetic alteration is unknown, but this rare mutation is probably associated with a low risk for MTC (usually the first tumor diagnosed in MEN 2A syndrome) and with the development of Pheo before the onset of MTC. Since we expect MTC to occur in our patient, strict follow-up is mandatory. Our findings emphasize the relevance of genetic testing in patients with Pheo, especially when the clinical presentation (family history, young age at diagnosis, multiple locations, malignant lesions, and bilateralism) is suggestive.

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