Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) is an
inherited genetic condition that causes tumors to grow in several of the body’s
hormone-producing, endocrine organs. MEN syndromes are traditionally divided
into two forms: type 1 and type 2.
MEN type 1 (MEN1) typically involves tumors
of the parathyroid glands, pituitary gland, and pancreas. MEN type 2 (MEN2) is
more commonly associated with medullary thyroid cancer and pheochromocytomas. These
tumors can be benign or malignant.
Children with MEN1 and MEN2 are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston
Children's through our Endocrine-Oncology Program
and the Boston
Children’s Hospital Thyroid Program. Our integrated pediatric
oncology service offers—in one specialized program—the combined expertise of a
leading cancer center and a premier children’s hospital. We build a team to
treat your child consisting of oncologists, endocrinologists, genetic
counselors, and surgeons.
Continue reading for more information about MEN
or visit the Endocrine-Oncology
Program page to learn more about our expertise or meet our treatment
endocrine neoplasias are traditionally divided into two types, MEN1 and MEN2.
As a parent,
you undoubtedly want to know what may have caused your child’s condition.
Both MEN1 and MEN2 are inherited disorders, meaning
that they are usually the result of an abnormal gene that is passed down in
families. Occasionally the conditions can arise from a new gene abnormality
that develops for unknown reasons in a patient without a family history of
these conditions. In general, MEN1 results from abnormalities in the MEN1 gene,
while MEN2 can arise from abnormalities in the RET gene.
The symptoms of MEN may vary from child to child and depend
on the type of the disease. Symptoms might mimic other, more common ailments.
Sometimes your child may not experience symptoms but MEN may be suggested
because of a family history.
of MEN1 may include:
symptoms of MEN2 might include:
many of these symptoms can also point to other conditions, it’s important to
have your child evaluated by a qualified medical professional right away.
The first step in treating your child is forming an
accurate and complete diagnosis. MEN1 or MEN2 are sometimes diagnosed if your
child has developed cancers known to occur with MEN. If there is a family
history of these conditions, your child may be tested for them before he or she
develops tumors or other associated problems. Your child’s physician may order
a number of different tests including:
may be other diagnostic tests that your doctor will discuss with you depending
on your child's individual situation. After we complete all necessary tests,
our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your
child's condition. Then, we will meet with you and your family to discuss the
results and outline the best possible treatment options.
your child's MEN1 or MEN2 depends on the type of condition and whether or not
tumors have developed. Your child’s doctor may recommend:
Children who are treated through our Endocrine-Oncology Program benefit from
the work of our basic and clinical researchers, who are striving to understand
the scientific causes of endocrine cancers. Their work can result in the
introduction of new treatment options. We are a world leader in translational
research, bringing laboratory advances to the bedside and into doctors’ offices
as quickly as possible.
trials, or research studies evaluating new treatment approaches, are a major
offering at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. For many children with rare or
hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.
that your child will be eligible to participate in one of our clinical trials.
In addition to launching our own clinical trials, we also offer trials
available through collaborative groups such as the Children's Oncology Group (COG).
If your child has a progressive or recurrent
tumor, she may be eligible for a number of experimental therapies available
through these groups or from one of our independent clinical investigators.
with MEN who had been treated for a tumor should visit a survivorship clinic
yearly. Through the David
B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic, our cancer survivorship
clinic, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation
from their cancer care team. In addition to meeting with your pediatric
oncologists, your child may see one of our endocrinologists, cardiologists, neurologists,
neuro-psychologists, or alternative/complementary therapy specialists. We also offer patient and family
education, psychosocial assessment, genetic counseling, reproductive counseling, and opportunities to speak with other
childhood cancer survivors.
Lindsay Frazier, MD, explains how a multidisciplinary team of specialists come together to deliver care for solid tumors.