O'Riordain DS, O'Brien T, Crotty TB, Gharib H, Grant CS, van Heerden JA
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN 2B) is a rare disorder differentiated from MEN 2A primarily by its extraendocrine features. This report describes the clinical spectrum and outcome of MEN 2B.
Twenty-one patients underwent operation for manifestations of MEN 2B between 1970 and 1993. Median follow-up was 16.9 years. Diagnosis was made through family screening in nine, the development of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in seven, phenotypic features in four, and constipation in one. Median age at presentation of colonic dysfunction, MTC, and pheochromocytoma was 0.1, 16, and 28 years, respectively.
Every patient had MTC. Fifteen (94%) of 16 patients undergoing primary thyroidectomies had multicentric disease, and seven (44%) had nodal metastases. Seven patients (33%) had pheochromocytoma, six bilateral and one malignant. Adrenalectomy was curative in every patient. Nineteen patients (90%) had colonic disturbances, typically chronic constipation from birth. Megacolon developed in 14 patients, and eight required colonic surgery. Every patient had the characteristic phenotype. Dominant features included neuromas of the tongue, buccalmucosa, lips, conjunctivae, and eyelids and a marfanoid habitus. Other features included high arched palate, corneal nerve thickening, and dental and skeletal abnormalities. Four patients died, two of metastatic MTC, one after operation for metastatic MTC, and one as a consequence of colonic perforation. Of 17 survivors, three have hepatic metastases from MTC, eight have nodal metastases, and six are well with normal or mildly elevated calcitonin levels.
MEN 2B is characterized by a relatively aggressive form of MTC, bilateral pheochromocytoma, severe colonic dysfunction, and a multitude of other extraendocrine abnormalities. Early recognition of MEN 2B and early prophylactic thyroidectomy are essential. Colonic dysfunction has previously received little attention, and further investigation of the pathogenesis and treatment of this disorder is warranted.
Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn 55905, USA.