Neurofibromatosis 2

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Recent clinical and molecular research on neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is reviewed, and the implications for clinical practice and research are discussed.

Recent findings

NF2 patients who are treated in specialty centers have a significantly lower risk of mortality than those who are treated in non-specialty centers. Vestibular schwannoma growth rates in NF2 are generally higher in younger people but are highly variable, even among multiple NF2 patients of similar ages in the same family. Radiation therapy is best reserved for NF2 patients who have particularly aggressive tumors, those who are poor surgical risks, those who refuse surgery, or those who are elderly. In-vivo studies have demonstrated that leptomeningeal cell activation of Nf2 in mice results in leptomeningeal hyperplasia and meningioma formation. In-vitro studies have identified molecules that interact with the NF2 product (merlin or schwannomin), some of which (e.g., CD44 and paxillin) may play critical roles in merlin growth regulation.

Summary

NF2 patients should be referred to specialty treatment centers for optimal care. Clinical management of multiple patients in NF2 families cannot be based on the expectation of similar vestibular schwannoma growth rates, even when other clinical aspects of disease severity are similar. The availability of accurate mouse models of human NF2-associated tumors and the identification of molecules involved in merlin growth regulation now provide an opportunity to design targeted treatments for schwannomas and meningiomas.

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