Management of Central and Peripheral Nervous System Tumors in Patients with Neurofibromatosis

Curr Oncol Rep. 2023 Dec;25(12):1409-1417. doi: 10.1007/s11912-023-01451-z. Epub 2023 Oct 31.


Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), and schwannomatosis represent a diverse group of genetic tumor predisposition syndromes with a shared feature of tumors affecting the peripheral nerve sheaths. PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Many advancements have been made in understanding the biologic underpinnings of these conditions, and in 2016 the first drug was approved by the FDA to treat pediatric symptomatic unresectable plexiform neurofibromas. RECENT FINDINGS: Mek inhibitors have provided a much-needed therapeutic avenue for NF1 patients with unresectable plexiform neurofibromas (PN), both for reduction of tumor bulk and for improvement in symptoms. Selumetinib is the first FDA approved drug for PN, but is only approved for children. Some research suggests that alternative Mek inhibitors and other mixed tyrosine kinase inhibitors may have better efficacy in adults. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor bevacizumab can prolong hearing and delay the need for surgery in NF2 patients with bilateral vestibular schwannomas. This article provides an update regarding considerations and approaches when treating the tumors associated with the neurofibromatoses (NF), including risk and prognosis metrics, clinical trial results, surgical techniques, and radiation therapy recommendations.

Keywords: ANNUBP; Atypical Neurofibromatous Neoplasm of Uncertain Biologic Potential; Cutaneous neurofibroma; Distinct Nodular Lesion NF1; MPNST; Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor; Meningioma; NF2; Neurofibromatosis; Plexiform neurofibroma; Schwannomatosis; Selumetinib; Vestibular Schwannoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Neurofibroma, Plexiform* / complications
  • Neurofibroma, Plexiform* / therapy
  • Neurofibromatoses* / complications
  • Neurofibromatoses* / diagnosis
  • Neurofibromatoses* / therapy
  • Neurofibromatosis 1* / complications
  • Neurofibromatosis 1* / therapy
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases