Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 370–383 | Cite as

Clinical genetics of multiple endocrine neoplasias, Carney complex and related syndromes

Review Article


The list of multiple endocrine neoplasias (MENs) that have been molecularly elucidated is growing with the most recent addition of Carney complex. MEN type 1 (MEN 1), which affects primarily the pituitary, pancreas, and parathyroid glands, is caused by mutations in the menin gene. MEN type 2 (MEN 2) syndromes, MEN 2A and MEN 2B that affect mainly the thyroid and parathyroid glands and the adrenal medulla, and familial medullary thyroid carcinoma (FMTC), are caused by mutations in the RET oncogene. Finally, Carney complex, which affects the adrenal cortex, the pituitary and thyroid glands, and the gonads, is caused by mutations in the gene that codes for regulatory subunit type 1A of protein kinase A (PKA) (PRKAR1A) in at least half of the known patients. Molecular defects have also been identified in syndromes related to the MENs, like Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) (the STK11/LKB1 gene), and Cowden (CD; the PTEN gene) and von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHLD; the VHL gene). Although recognition of these syndromes at a young age generally improves prognosis, the need for molecular testing in the diagnostic evaluation of the MENs is less clear. This review presents the newest information on the clinical and molecular genetics of the MENs (MEN 1, MEN 2, and Carney complex), including recommendations for genetic screening, and discusses briefly the related syndromes PJS, CD and VHLD.


Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes Carney complex Peutz-Jeghers syndrome Cowden disease protein kinase A 


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© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit on Genetics and Endocrinology, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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