Familial neuroendocrine tumors are reviewed. The most dramatic advances have been in the application of molecular genetic techniques to define the affected genes and to develop predictive testing for patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes. Germline mutations at specific loci of the RET proto-oncogene have been demonstrated in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia types IIA, IIB, and familial medullary thyroid carcinoma not associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia. This has led to direct DNA testing for these mutations in patients at risk for these syndromes. The approach to predictive testing, diagnosis, and early treatment of these patients is discussed as a model for the approach to hereditary cancers. Linkage testing with DNA markers is still required for patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type I because the responsible gene has not yet been isolated. Efforts to clarify the etiologies of other familial neuroendocrine tumors not associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia continue. Familial pheochromocytoma, neuroblastoma, and carcinoid also are reviewed. The use of molecular genetic techniques as a powerful tool for the early identification and treatment of susceptible individuals is emphasized.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research