Eur J Med Res. 2009 Mar 17;14(3):102-5. doi: 10.1186/2047-783x-14-3-102.


Neurofibromatosis (NF) is one of the most common genetic disorders. Inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion, this phacomatosis is classified into two genetically distinct subtypes characterized by multiple cutaneous lesions and tumors of the peripheral and central nervous system. Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), also referred to as Recklinghausen's disease, affects about 1 in 3500 individuals and presents with a variety of characteristic abnormalities of the skin and the peripheral nervous system. Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), previously termed central neurofibromatosis, is much more rare occurring in less than 1 in 25 000 individuals. Often first clinical signs of NF2 become apparent in the late teens with a sudden loss of hearing due to the development of bi- or unilateral vestibular schwannomas. In addition NF2 patients may suffer from further nervous tissue tumors such as meningiomas or gliomas. This review summarizes the characteristic features of the two forms of NF and outlines commonalities and distinctions between NF1 and NF2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / genetics
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neurofibroma / genetics
  • Neurofibroma / pathology
  • Neurofibroma / therapy
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / genetics
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology*
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / therapy
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / genetics
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / pathology*
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / therapy