Genotype-Phenotype Correlations in Neurofibromatosis Type 1: A Single-Center Cohort Study

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Apr 14;13(8):1879. doi: 10.3390/cancers13081879.


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a proteiform genetic condition caused by pathogenic variants in NF1 and characterized by a heterogeneous phenotypic presentation. Relevant genotype-phenotype correlations have recently emerged, but only few pertinent studies are available. We retrospectively reviewed clinical, instrumental, and genetic data from a cohort of 583 individuals meeting at least 1 diagnostic National Institutes of Health (NIH) criterion for NF1. Of these, 365 subjects fulfilled ≥2 NIH criteria, including 235 pediatric patients. Genetic testing was performed through cDNA-based sequencing, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), and Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA). Uni- and multivariate statistical analysis was used to investigate genotype-phenotype correlations. Among patients fulfilling ≥ 2 NIH criteria, causative single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and copy number variations (CNVs) were detected in 267/365 (73.2%) and 20/365 (5.5%) cases. Missense variants negatively correlated with neurofibromas (p = 0.005). Skeletal abnormalities were associated with whole gene deletions (p = 0.05) and frameshift variants (p = 0.006). The c.3721C>T; p.(R1241*) variant positively correlated with structural brain alterations (p = 0.031), whereas Lisch nodules (p = 0.05) and endocrinological disorders (p = 0.043) were associated with the c.6855C>A; p.(Y2285*) variant. We identified novel NF1 genotype-phenotype correlations and provided an overview of known associations, supporting their potential relevance in the implementation of patient management.

Keywords: MLPA; NF1; NGS; brain tumor; cDNA sequencing; genotype–phenotype correlations; neurofibromatosis type I; splicing; stop-gain.