Carney complex: the first 20 years

Curr Opin Oncol. 2007 Jan;19(1):24-9. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e32801195eb.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to comment on the current findings on Carney complex, a dominantly inherited disease and a unique multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome.

Recent findings: Sequencing of the PRKAR1A gene in more than 150 kindreds has revealed a number of pathogenic mutations; in more than 90% of the cases, the sequence change was predicted to lead to a premature stop codon and, thus, mutant mRNAs were subject to nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. In Carney complex syndrome cells carrying these mutations, protein kinase A activity is irregularly stimulated by cAMP. Mutations that did not lead to a premature stop codon have also been described; these were also associated with abnormal protein kinase A activity. Animal models of the disease have been recently developed; they reproduced some of the stigmata of Carney complex syndrome but not all. Genetic testing of patients' family members has been introduced in recent years, leading to early detection and a better overall prognosis.

Summary: New treatments have yet to be applied; the elucidation of the molecular pathways regulated by PRKAR1A holds the promise of leading to molecularly designed therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acromegaly / pathology
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / pathology*
  • Cushing Syndrome / pathology*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIalpha Subunit
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia / pathology*
  • Mutation
  • Myxoma / pathology*
  • Pigmentation Disorders / genetics
  • Pigmentation Disorders / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIalpha Subunit
  • PRKAR1A protein, human
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases