Neurofibromatosis without Neurofibromas: Confirmation of a Genotype-Phenotype Correlation and Implications for Genetic Testing

Case Rep Neurol. 2011 Apr 11;3(1):86-90. doi: 10.1159/000327557.


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a multisystem disease with autosomal dominant inheritance and complete penetrance diagnosed by clinical findings. Cutaneous neurofibromas are present in almost all adult patients in the dermis, epidermis or along the peripheral nerves. Plexiform neurofibromas are subcutaneous or deep lesions involving nerve plexuses or roots. Neurofibromas can degenerate into malignant tumors, with important prognostic implications. NF1 shows a broad clinic variability even within a single family. Exceptions are cases reporting the in-frame microdeletion c.2970_2972delAAT, presenting with the typical pigmentary features of NF1, but no cutaneous or plexiform neurofibromas. We report a patient with a de novo c.2970_2972delAAT mutation who had few café-au-lait spots, only 2 of which measured >15 mm, axillary and submammary freckling, a flat angioma extending over the neck, arm and trunk, a high arched palate, micrognathia, macrocephaly, pes cavus and scoliosis. There was complete absence of observable cutaneous neurofibromas as well as external plexiform neurofibromas. She had had epileptic seizures since childhood; however, a diagnosis of NF1 had not been confirmed until she was 38, partly due to the paucity of characteristic cutaneous stigmata. We confirm the association of the c.2970_2972delAAT mutation in NF1 with a particular clinical phenotype, especially with lack of detectable neurofibromas. For an appropriate management of patients and family counseling, molecular study of the NF1 gene should be considered in patients not fulfilling NIH criteria when other features suggestive of NF1 are present. In the absence of neurofibromas, starting NF1 testing with the screening of exon 17 may be worthwhile.

Keywords: De novo mutation; Diagnosis; Genotype-phenotype correlation; NF1; Neurofibromas; Neurofibromatosis; c.2970_2972delAAT.

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  • Case Reports