Frank-Raue K, Kratt T, Höppner W, Buhr H, Ziegler R, Raue F. Diagnosis and management of pheochromocytomas in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2—relevance of specific mutations in the RET proto-oncogene. Eur J Endocrinol 1996;135:222–5. ISSN 0804–4643
It has been suggested that specific mutations in the RET proto-oncogene correlate with clinical manifestation of the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2) syndrome. We retrospectively analyzed 61 patients with MEN 2, 28 with associated pheochromocytoma, regarding the relevance of specific mutations in the RET proto-oncogene and the diagnostic sensitivity of catecholamine screening and localization procedures. The present study shows that the position of the RET mutation is related to disease phenotype; codon 634 mutations are predictive of families predisposed to pheochromocytoma. In 18% of our patients, the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma preceded detection of medullary thyroid carcinoma. Therefore, mutation analysis of the RET gene should be performed in apparently "sporadic" cases of pheochromocytoma to confirm or exclude MEN 2. The most sensitive biochemical marker for pheochromocytoma in MEN 2 is 24-h urinary epinephrine excretion. Computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and MIBG scintigraphy are all highly sensitive methods to localize pheochromocytoma. We conclude that, in all families with MEN 2, mutational analysis of the RET proto-oncogene should be performed, both to identify gene carriers for MEN 2 and to identify specific mutations that are more strongly associated with pheochromocytoma.
Karin Frank-Raue, Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Bergheimer Straße 58, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany