Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is a common, fully penetrant autosomal dominant disease. The clinical course is generally progressive but highly variable, and the pathogenesis is poorly understood. We studied statistical associations among 13 of the most common or important clinical features in data from four separate sets of NF1 patients: a "developmental sample" of 1,413 probands from the NNFF International Database, an independent "validation sample" of 1,384 probands from the same database, 511 affected relatives of these probands, and 441 patients from a population-based registry in northwest England. We developed logistic regressive models for each of the 13 features using the developmental sample and attempted to validate these models in the other three samples. Age and gender were included as covariates in all models. Models were successfully developed and validated for ten of the 13 features analysed. The results are consistent with grouping nine of the clinical features into three sets: (1) café-au-lait spots, intertriginous freckling and Lisch nodules; (2) cutaneous, subcutaneous and plexiform neurofibromas; (3) macrocephaly, optic glioma and other neoplasms. In addition, three-way interactions among café-au-lait spots, intertriginous freckling and subcutaneous neurofibromas indicate that the first two groups are not independent. Our studies show that some individuals with NF1 are more likely than others to develop certain clinical features of the disease. Some NF1 features appear to share pathogenic mechanisms that are not common to all features.