Mortality in neurofibromatosis 1: an analysis using U.S. death certificates

Am J Hum Genet. 2001 May;68(5):1110-8. doi: 10.1086/320121. Epub 2001 Mar 28.


Although neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is a relatively common autosomal dominant condition, information about its effect on mortality is limited. We used Multiple-Cause Mortality Files, compiled from U.S. death certificates by the National Center for Health Statistics, for 1983 through 1997. We identified 3,770 cases of presumed NF1 among 32,722,122 deaths in the United States, a frequency of 1/8,700, which is one-third to one-half the estimated prevalence. Mean and median ages at death for persons with NF1 were 54.4 and 59 years, respectively, compared with 70.1 and 74 years in the general population. Results of proportionate mortality ratio (PMR) analyses showed that persons with NF1 were 34 times more likely (PMR=34.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 30.8-38.0) to have a malignant connective or other soft-tissue neoplasm listed on their death certificates than were persons without NF1. Overall, persons with NF1 were 1.2 times more likely than expected (PMR=1.21, 95% CI 1.14-1.28) to have a malignant neoplasm listed on their death certificates, but the PMR was 6.07 (95% CI 4.88-7.45) for persons who died at 10-19 years of age and was 4.93 (95% CI 4.14-5.82) for those who died at 20-29 years of age. Similarly, vascular disease was recorded more often than expected on death certificates of persons with NF1 who died at <30 years of age (PMR=3.26, 95% CI 1.31-6.71 at age <10 years; PMR=2.68, 95% CI 1.38-4.68 at age 10-19 years; and PMR=2.25, 95% CI 1.46-3.32 at 20-29 years) but not in older persons. This study supports previous findings of decreased life expectancy for persons with NF1 and, within the limitations of death certificates, provides population-based data about NF1 morbidity and mortality that are useful to clinicians caring for patients with NF1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Death Certificates*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / complications
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / epidemiology
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / mortality*
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology
  • Racial Groups
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vascular Diseases / complications