Objectives: Research studies have reported that about a third of individuals with phaeochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL) have an inherited predisposition, although the frequency of specific mutations can vary between populations. We evaluated VHL, SDHB and SDHD mutation testing in cohorts of patients with non-syndromic PPGL and head and neck paraganglioma (HNPGL).
Design: Prospective, observational evaluation of NHS practice.
Patients: Individuals with PPGL/HNPGL referred to a supraregional genetics testing service over a 10-year period.
Measurements: Clinical (age, tumour site, malignancy, etc.), mutation frequencies and characteristics.
Results: A total of 501 probands with PPGL (n = 413) or HNPGL (n = 88) were studied. Thirty-one percent of patients with PPGL presented had a pathogenic mutation in SDHB, SDHD or VHL. Mutation detection rates were highest in those with a positive family history (62%), malignancy (53%), multiple tumours (33%) or PGL (44%). Twenty-eight percent of individuals with a single sporadic phaeochromocytoma had a mutation. Overall, 63% of patients with HNPGL had a mutation (92% of those with a family history, 89% of those with multicentric tumours and 34% of those with a single sporadic HNPGL). Penetrance was calculated in 121 SDHB mutation-positive probands and 187 of their mutation-positive relatives. Most relatives were asymptomatic and lifetime penetrance in non-proband SDHB mutation carriers was <50%.
Conclusions: Practice-based evaluations of genetic testing in PPGL reveal high mutation detection rates. Although clinical criteria can be used to prioritize mutation testing, mutations were detected in 'low risk groups' indicating a need for comprehensive and inexpensive genetic testing strategies for PPGL and HNPGL.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.