Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jun;24(3):371-87. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2010.02.001.


Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2) is an autosomal dominant cancer syndrome with major components of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), pheochromocytoma and hyperparathyroidism. The disease is caused by germline mutations of the RET proto-oncogene. Subtypes of MEN 2 include MEN 2A, MEN 2B and familial MTC (FMTC) which differ in pattern of additional lesions or--in FMTC--lack of pheochromocytoma. In 2009, after extensive review of the literature, the guidelines of the American Thyroid Association made several recommendations regarding clinical and genetic diagnostic testing and treatment options. In this article, the recently published literature is reviewed and concerns regarding future perspectives are added. In particular, a critical handling of rare DNA variants and double mutations is necessary. Up to now, mutation-specific risk profiles and mutation-associated treatment recommendations are unavailable. We emphasise the need for approved centres for treatment of patients affected by MEN 2, not only adults but young children as well. As a high level of skill is required for endoscopic adrenal-sparing surgery, surgeons should declare their expertise before operating such patients. Registry-based follow-up should be mandatory including documentation of short- and long-term outcome in order to provide valid data for future counselling of patients with MEN 2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / pathology
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Medullary / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Medullary / pathology
  • Child
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / genetics*
  • Hyperparathyroidism / pathology
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2a / genetics*
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2a / pathology
  • Pheochromocytoma / genetics*
  • Pheochromocytoma / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret / genetics
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology


  • MAS1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret