Impact of neurofibromatosis type 1 in an adult community population

Neurooncol Pract. 2022 Feb 17;9(3):229-235. doi: 10.1093/nop/npac014. eCollection 2022 May.


Background: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common tumor predisposition syndrome with varying manifestations and severity. Adult NF1 patients often experience fragmented care, so we sought to characterize the health and demographic features of a community-based population of adults with NF1 and hypothesized that lack of a specialty clinic for adult NF1 patients correlates with unmet needs.

Methods: Retrospective case-control study of all adult cases of NF1 among 4.06 million medical records in a Pacific Northwest population. 122 case charts were reviewed to ascertain NF1 disease features, comorbidities, and severity of disease. A 1:1 control cohort was selected by matching case/control by age, sex, and ZIP code to compare demographic features and health status.

Results: Adult NF1 patients were less likely to have private insurance, be employed, and have children, but were equally likely to be married. One half of cases had disease features compromising health and well-being, and care involved 26 different specialties. Excluding neurofibromas, 43% of cases had cancer compared to 10% of controls [P < .0001, OR 5.38 (2.53-11.4)]. Only 27% of women ages 30-50 had undergone age-appropriate enhanced breast cancer surveillance. Behavioral health problems were found in 60% of NF1 patients compared to 37% of controls [P < .001, OR 2.61 (1.52-4.50)]. 93% of cases referred to a NF1 specialty center underwent a change in management upon establishing care.

Conclusions: NF1 patients may benefit from coordinated management of care in a specialty center.

Keywords: burden of disease; epidemiology; neurofibromatosis type 1; quality of life; tumor predisposition.