Epidemiological study of a von Hippel-Lindau family in northwest China.
[von hippel-lindau disease]
von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is a rare, inherited neoplastic disease characterized by hemangioblastomas (HBL) of the central nervous system (CNS), retinal angiomas, renal cell carcinomas (RCC), pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs), pheochromocytomas, paragangliomas, and visceral cysts. We encountered a large VHL family in northwest China and conducted a systematic screening of the family members based on their epidemiological and clinical characteristics. A self-designed questionnaire was used to collect the general sociodemographic and health information of the family members. For the preliminary family screening, physical examination and abdomen B ultrasonography were performed. The suspected patients were subjected to cranial computerized tomography and fundus examination. The clinical data of the patients with confirmed VHL disease were collected from hospital records. A total of 63 lineal descendants in six generations were observed in the family (generations O, A, B, C, D, E), including 9 dead suspected cases (6 males, 3 females) and 10 living cases (2 males, 8 females). Among the 10 living cases, 4, 2, 1, 3, 4, 8, and 2 manifested HBLs of the CNS, PETs, RCC, pancreatic cysts, renal cysts, pheochromocytomas (4 hemi and 4 bilateral), and paragangliomas, respectively. Data showed that the morbidity of VHL disease in generation C was lower than that in generation B, but the age of onset was younger. This study is the first to report VHL disease in northwest China and VHL-associated PET cases in Chinese. Therefore, follow-up checkups of the family should be focused on younger generations. Proper family screening protocols should be followed for the treatment of patients with VHL disease.