Although isolated cafe-au-lait macules (CALMs) are a common skin finding, they are an early feature of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).Objective
We sought to develop an algorithm determining the risk of children with CALMs to have constitutional NF1.Methods
We conducted a retrospective study of patients with isolated CALMs. Diagnosis of NF1 was based on detecting NF1 mutation in blood or fulfilling clinical criteria.Results
In all, 170 of 419 (41%) and 21 of 86 (24%) children with isolated CALMs who underwent molecular testing and clinical follow-up, respectively, were given a diagnosis of NF1. Presence of fewer than 6 CALMs at presentation or atypical CALMs was associated with not having NF1 (P < .001). An algorithm based on age, CALMs number, and presence of atypical macules predicted NF1 in both cohorts. According to the algorithm, children older than 29 months with at least 1 atypical CALM or less than 6 CALMs have a 0.9% (95% confidence interval 0%-2.6%) risk for constitutional NF1 whereas children younger than 29 months with 6 or more CALMs have a high risk (80.4%, 95% confidence interval 74.6%-86.2%).Limitations
The study was designed to detect constitutional NF1 and not NF1 in mosaic form.Conclusions
A simple algorithm enables categorization of children with isolated CALMs as being at low or high risk for having NF1.