Early Onset Renal Cell Carcinoma in an Adolescent Girl With Germline FLCN Exon 5 Deletion

Fam Cancer. 2018 Jan;17(1):135-139. doi: 10.1007/s10689-017-0008-8.


Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) disease is an autosomal dominant cancer syndrome characterized by benign skin tumors, renal cancer and spontaneous pneumothorax and is caused by mutations in the Folliculin (FLCN) gene. Benign skin tumors and pneumothorax occur in the majority of patients affected by BHD syndrome, but only 30-45% of them develop renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with a median age of diagnosis at 48. The earliest onset of RCC in a BHD patient has been reported at age 20. Here we report a case of a 14 year-old patient with germline FLCN mutation leading to an early-onset bulky RCC that could not be classified strictly according to existing histological types. Germline genetic testing revealed a deletion at FLCN exon 5. The father of the patient was identified as the asymptomatic carrier. We report the youngest patient with BHD-related RCC. This early onset presentation supports genetic testing of at-risk patients and initiation of imaging surveillance for RCC in early adolescence. In addition, future studies are necessary to understand the determinants of reduced penetrance in BHD disease.

Keywords: Birt-Hogg-Dubé disease; Cancer genetics; Hereditary kidney cancer; Renal cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Exons / genetics
  • Female
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics*


  • FLCN protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins