Psychosocial consequences of DNA analysis for MEN type 2

Oncology (Williston Park). 1996 Feb;10(2):141-6; discussion 146, 152, 157.


Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN-2) is characterized by medullary thyroid carcinoma in combination with pheochromocytomas and, sometimes, parathyroid adenomas. Since 1993, the psychosocial implications of DNA analysis for MEN-2 have been studied in the Netherlands. This article summarizes the first results of that study. Individuals who applied for DNA analysis cited the need to reduce uncertainty as the major reason for wanting the test. An unfavorable test outcome resulted in anxiety and depression but also relief. Immediate preventive treatment was preferred to continued periodic screening. Carriers were preoccupied with disease-related complaints, and identified with other carriers and MEN-2 patients. A favorable test led, in most applicants and partners, to both relief and worry. Some noncarriers felt guilty and isolated from their families. One year after counseling, participants reported fewer psychosomatic complaints.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / genetics
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / psychology
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Depression / etiology
  • Genetic Counseling / psychology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2a / genetics
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2a / psychology*
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / genetics
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / psychology
  • Pheochromocytoma / genetics
  • Pheochromocytoma / psychology
  • Social Adjustment
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / psychology
  • Truth Disclosure


  • DNA, Neoplasm