Background: Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A (MEN 2A) is an autosomal dominant condition in which virtually all affected kindred members have medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). However, the penetrance of pheochromocytoma and hyperparathyroidism in affected kindred members is variable, and the true prevalence of these neoplasms is unclear from previous studies.
Methods: Members of MEN 2A kindreds with more than 10 years of follow-up screening for MTC, pheochromocytoma, or hyperparathyroidism were studied. The diagnosis of pheochromocytoma was based on histologic examination and hyperparathyroidism on both parathyroid hyperplasia plus preoperative elevation of serum calcium levels.
Results: Eighty-six patients operated on for MTC from 12 different MEN 2A kindreds were studied, with a mean follow-up of 12.9 years of screening for pheochromocytoma (79 patients) and 15.0 years for hyperparathyroidism (78 patients). Pheochromocytomas developed in 42% of patients with MTC, with a range of 6% to 100% in different kindreds. The prevalence of hyperparathyroidism was 35%, ranging from 0% to 53% between kindreds. The average age at diagnosis of MTC, pheochromocytoma, and hyperparathyroidism was 29, 37, and 36 years, respectively.
Conclusions: We conclude that the penetrance of pheochromocytoma and hyperparathyroidism is variable in different kindreds with MEN 2A but that the overall prevalence of pheochromocytoma approximates 40% and that of hyperparathyroidism 35%.