Molecular and phenotypic spectrum of cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome in Chinese patients

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2023 Sep 11;18(1):284. doi: 10.1186/s13023-023-02878-0.


Background: Cardio-facio-cutaneous (CFC) syndrome is a RASopathy subtype that presents with unique craniofacial dysmorphology, congenital heart disease, dermatologic abnormalities, growth retardation, and intellectual disability. This study describes the phenotypic spectrum of CFC in China and its association with CFC syndrome gene variants.

Results: Twenty Chinese CFC patients, aged 0.6-9.5 years old, were included in this study and their clinical phenotypic spectrum was compared with that of 186 patients with CFC from non-Chinese ethnicities. All 20 Chinese patients with CFC carried de novo heterozygous BRAF, MAP2K1, and MAP2K2 variants. Two novel variants were detected and consistently predicted to be deleterious using bioinformatic tools. The clinical features of CFC in the Chinese patients included hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (2/20, 10%), pulmonary valve stenosis (2/20, 10%), curly or sparse hair (7/20, 35%), epilepsy (1/20, 5%), and hypotonia (10/20, 50%); these features were less frequently observed in Chinese patients than non-Chinese patients (p < 0.05). In contrast, feeding difficulties (19/20, 95%) were more frequently observed in the Chinese patients. Absent eyebrows and severe short stature were more common in patients with BRAF variants than in those with MAP2K1/2 variants. Facial recognition software was used to recognize most CFC patients using artificial intelligence.

Conclusion: This study identified novel and common variants in our cohort of 20 Chinese patients with CFC. We uncovered differences in clinical features between Chinese and non-Chinese patients and detected genotype-phenotype correlations among the BRAF and MAP2K1/2 variant subgroups. This is the largest cohort of Chinese CFC patients to our knowledge, providing new insights into a subtype of RASopathy.

Keywords: BRAF; Cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome; MAP2K1/2; RASopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ectodermal Dysplasia* / genetics
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf

Supplementary concepts

  • Cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome