Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Chinese patients with sporadic Hirschsprung’s disease are predominantly represented by a single RET haplotype
  1. M-M Garcia-Barceló1,
  2. M-H Sham2,
  3. V C-H Lui1,
  4. B L-S Chen1,
  5. Y-Q Song2,
  6. W-S Lee1,
  7. S-K Yung1,
  8. G Romeo3,
  9. P K-H Tam1
  1. 1Division of Paediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Hong Kong Medical Centre, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
  2. 2Department of Biochemistry, The University of Hong Kong
  3. 3Laboratory of Medical Genetics, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Paul K-H Tam
 Division of Paediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Hong Kong Medical Centre; Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, PR China;

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Hirschsprung’s disease is a developmental disorder characterised by the absence of ganglion cells in the nerve plexuses of the lower digestive tract. The Hirschsprung phenotype is variable and can be classified into two groups: SSA, or short segment aganglionosis, which includes patients with aganglionosis as far as the rectosigmoid junction; and LSA, or long segment aganglionosis, which includes patients with aganglionosis beyond the rectosigmoid junction. The condition presents in the neonatal period as a failure to pass meconium, chronic severe constipation, colonic distension, secondary electrolyte disturbances, and sometimes enterocolitis and bowel perforation.

The estimated population incidence is 1/5000 live births, although this is a representative value. The highest incidence is in Asian populations (2.8 per 10 000 life births) and the lowest in Hispanics (1 per 10 000 life births).1 The male to female (M:F) ratio is approximately 4:1 for SSA patients and approximately 1:1 for LSA patients.1 Approximately 20% of cases are familial. The recurrence risks for siblings of SSA variant probands ranges between 1.5% and 3.3%, while the risks for those of LSA variant probands varies from 2.9% to 17.6%.1 Hirschsprung’s disease is often associated with chromosomal abnormalities, with other neurodevelopmental disorders such as Waardenburg syndrome type 4, and with a variety of additional isolated anomalies and syndromes.1,2

The disease has a complex genetic aetiology, and many studies indicate the receptor tyrosine kinase gene (RET) as the major susceptibility gene for Hirschsprung’s disease.1–14RET mutations are also associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2),15 and medullary thyroid carcinoma.16 Papillary thyroid carcinoma is associated with RET somatic rearrangements.17

Mutations in the RET gene account for up to 50% of the familial cases and anywhere between 7% and 35% of the sporadic cases, and they lack genotype–phenotype correlation.5–

View Full Text