Neurofibromatosis 2

Definition

Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is a genetic disorder in which tumors form on the nerves of the brain and spine (the central nervous system).

Although it has a similar name to neurofibromatosis type 1, it is a different and separate condition.

Alternative Names

NF2; Bilateral acoustic neurofibromatosis; Central bilateral acoustic NF

Causes

NF2 is passed down through families in an autosomal dominant pattern. This means that if one parent has NF2, any child of that parent has a 50% chance of inheriting the condition.

The main risk factor is having a family history of the condition.

Symptoms

Symptoms of NF2 include:

  • Balance problems
  • Cataracts at a young age
  • Changes in vision
  • Coffee-colored marks on the skin (café-au-lait)
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing and noises in the ears
  • Weakness of the face

Exams and Tests

Signs include:

  • Brain and spinal tumors
  • Hearing-related (acoustic) tumors
  • Skin tumors

Tests include:

  • Genetic testing
  • Medical history
  • MRI
  • Physical examination

Treatment

Acoustic neuromas can be observed, or treated with surgery or radiation.

Patients may benefit from genetic counseling.

Every year, patients with NF2 should be evaluated with:

  • MRI of the brain and spinal cord
  • Hearing and speech evaluation
  • Eye exam

Support Groups

For information and support, visit www.ctf.org.

Figures

Central nervous system

References

Ferner RE. Neurofibromatosis 1 and neurofibromatosis 2: a twenty first century perspective. Lancet Neurol. 2007;6:340-351.

Sahin M. Neurocutaneous syndromes. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme III JW, Schor NF, Behrman RE, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 589.

Revision

Last reviewed 10/29/2013 by Chad Haldeman-Englert, MD, FACMG, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Section on Medical Genetics, Winston-Salem, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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