Neurofibromatosis 2 in the pediatric population

J Child Neurol. 2003 Oct;18(10):718-24. doi: 10.1177/08830738030180101301.


Neurofibromatosis 2 is a severe autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the occurrence of bilateral vestibular schwannomas and other benign tumors of the nervous system. Excellent natural history studies exist for adults with neurofibromatosis 2, but limited outcome data are available for children with neurofibromatosis 2. In this study, we present clinical data on 12 patients with neurofibromatosis 2 and age at diagnosis before 18 years. Full record review included surgical reports, pathology reports, and imaging studies; all patients were personally examined by a single author. One third of the patients presented with hearing impairment and another third presented with other cranial nerve dysfunction. Tumor load was extensive, including cranial meningiomas in 75%, cranial schwannomas other than vestibular schwannomas in 83%, and spinal cord tumors in 75%. Family history was present in two thirds of the patients. Surgical removal of vestibular schwannomas was performed in 58%; none had full preservation of hearing postsurgery. Functionally, 75% of children had hearing loss, 83% had visual impairment, 25% had abnormal ambulation, and 25% were performing below grade level. In conclusion, increased clinical awareness, better imaging techniques, and molecular diagnostics have made pediatric diagnosis of neurofibromatosis 2 feasible, but outcomes appear to be worse than in adult patients. Further work is needed to determine optimal management of pediatric neurofibromatosis 2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Nerves / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Neurilemmoma / pathology
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / genetics*
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / pathology*
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / surgery
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / pathology