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Evaluation of Tibial Osteopathy Occurrence in Neurofibromatosis Type 1 Italian Patients


Department of Pediatrics, University of Genoa, Gaslini Children's Hospital, Largo G. Gaslini, 5, 16147 Genoa, Italy. E-mail:


Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is a common autosomal dominant disorder characterized by high penetrance, widely variable expressivity and occurrence of specific skeletal changes such as tibial osteopathy (TO). We collected data on patients referred to the Italian Neurofibromatosis Study Group in order to compare clinical features between 49 NF1 patients with TO, and 98 age-matched NF1 patients without TO, and to determine whether the presence of TO is associated with a different risk of developing the typical NF1 complications. We assessed both groups for: age at diagnosis of NF1, gender distribution, family history, gender inheritance, presence of scoliosis, sphenoid wing osteopathy, other skeletal abnormalities, macrocrania, hydrocephalus, plexiform neurofibromas, tumors, optic pathway gliomas, T2H (high-signal intensity areas on T2 weighted brain MRI), epilepsy, headache, mental retardation, cardiovascular malformations, and Noonan phenotype. Patients of both groups were subdivided by gender and re-evaluated for these items. Statistical comparison was carried out between the two groups of patients for each feature. We collected data on type of treatment and on the clinical conditions of NF1-TO patients after follow-up. Patient's age at NF1 diagnosis was significantly younger in NF1-TO subjects compared with NF1 subjects without TO, and the incidence of T2H was significantly reduced in NF1-TO males compared with NF1 males without TO. The presence of TO does not imply that there is an increased risk of developing typical complications of NF1 (e.g., optic pathway glioma, plexiform neurofibroma, etc.), however, it does allow us to make an earlier diagnosis of NF1. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.