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Risk assessment of maternally inherited SDHD paraganglioma and phaeochromocytoma


Background Germline mutations in the SDHD tumour suppressor gene (11q23.1) predispose to phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) mainly on a paternal transmission. However, PPGL have been recently reported in three carriers of a maternally inherited SDHD mutation.

Objective To assess the risk of PPGL occurrence on maternal transmission of SDHD mutation.

Methods Pedigrees of 80 SDHD-related families have been reviewed. 35 asymptomatic subjects carrying a maternally transmitted SDHD mutation were identified. 20 of them accepted to benefit from a PPGL imaging screening.

Results A unique histologically proven biochemically negative phaeochromocytoma has been diagnosed in a 35-year-old woman. Molecular investigations carried out on tumour tissue revealed that the loss of heterozygosity encompassed the paternally derived q arm and the maternally derived p arm of chromosome 11.

Conclusions This study demonstrates that the risk of developing PPGL for a subject carrying a germline SDHD mutation on the maternal allele remains a rare scenario but does exist. Our data suggest an adjustment of current genetic counselling and clinical care recommendations for at-risk subjects. A targeted familial genetic test should be proposed from the age of 18 years to every subject having a mother carrying a germline SDHD mutation and a first medical workup, including imaging, should be recommended to SDHD-positive mutation carriers.

  • Adrenal disorders
  • Cancer: endocrine
  • Genetics
  • Genetic screening/counselling
  • Molecular genetics

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