Thyroid gland abnormalities in patients with the syndrome of spotty skin pigmentation, myxomas, endocrine overactivity, and schwannomas (Carney complex)

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Jul;82(7):2037-43. doi: 10.1210/jcem.82.7.4079.


Carney complex is a multiple neoplasia and lentiginosis syndrome that affects endocrine glands, including the pituitary, adrenals, and testes; thyroid gland involvement has not been unequivocally demonstrated. In the present study, the medical records of 12 families with Carney complex (53 affected patients) were reviewed for evidence of thyroid abnormality; 2 patients with thyroid carcinoma (1 papillary and 1 follicular; 3.8%) and 1 with follicular adenoma were identified in 3 unrelated kindreds. Six affected members of these kindreds were then screened for the presence of thyroid disease (familial cases). We also studied 5 patients with the complex who had no affected relatives (sporadic cases). These 11 patients consisted of 5 adults [mean age, 33.2 +/- 9.2 (+/- SD) yr] and 6 children and adolescents (mean age, 13.8 +/- 2.5 yr). All had normal results of physical and biochemical examination of the thyroid gland (total and free T4, T3, and TSH levels). Thyroid ultrasonography showed hypoechoic, cystic, solid, or mixed lesions in 3 of the 5 adults (60%) and 4 of the 6 children (67%). Two patients underwent fine needle aspiration biopsy, which identified follicular lesions. Thyroid gland abnormalities were documented in 5 siblings and 1 parent-child pair. We conclude that thyroid gland pathology is 1) common in patients with Carney complex; 2) includes a spectrum of abnormalities ranging from follicular hyperplasia and/or cystic changes to carcinoma; and 3) is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, like the other manifestations of the syndrome, it is therefore, a candidate component of the syndrome. Ultrasonography is useful in the detection and clinical follow-up of these lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Diseases / diagnosis
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lentigo / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia / diagnosis*
  • Myxoma / diagnosis
  • Neurilemmoma / diagnosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Pigmentation*
  • Syndrome
  • Thyroid Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Diseases / pathology
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / blood


  • Triiodothyronine
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine