Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant, multisystem disorder affecting approximately 1 in 3500 people. Significant advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of NF1 have been made in the last decade. While no medical therapies for NF1 are currently available, trials are ongoing to discover and test medical treatments for the various manifestations of NF1, primarily plexiform neurofibromas, learning disabilities, and optic pathway gliomas. In addition, mutational analysis has become available on a clinical basis and is useful for diagnostic confirmation in individuals who do not fulfill diagnostic criteria or when a prenatal diagnosis is desired. There are several disorders that may share overlapping features with NF1; in 2007, a disorder with cutaneous findings similar to NF1 was described. This paper addresses the dermatologist's role in diagnosis and management of NF1 and describes the variety of cutaneous and extracutaneous findings in NF1 to which the dermatologist may be exposed.
Learning objectives: After completing this learning activity, participants should be able to discuss the indications and limitations of genetic testing in neurofibromatosis type 1, distinguish common and uncommon cutaneous findings, and recognize the dermatologist's role in diagnosis and management.