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Nicola Tufton, Rahul Ghelani, Umasuthan Srirangalingam, Ajith V Kumar, William M Drake, Donato Iacovazzo, Kassiani Skordilis, Daniel Berney, Ma’en Al-Mrayat, Bernard Khoo, and Scott A Akker

Open access

Dahlia F Davidoff, Eugénie S Lim, Diana E Benn, Yuvanaa Subramaniam, Eleanor Dorman, John R Burgess, Scott A Akker, and Roderick J Clifton-Bligh

Phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma are highly heritable tumours; half of those associated with a germline mutation are caused by mutations in genes for Krebs’s cycle enzymes, including succinate dehydrogenase (SDH). Inheritance of SDH alleles is assumed to be Mendelian (probability of 50% from each parent). The departure from transmission of parental alleles in a ratio of 1:1 is termed transmission ratio distortion (TRD). We sought to assess whether TRD occurs in the transmission of SDHB pathogenic variants (PVs). This study was conducted with 41 families of a discovery cohort from Royal North Shore Hospital, Australia, and 41 families from a validation cohort from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, United Kingdom (UK). Inclusion criteria were a clinically diagnosed SDHB PV and a pedigree available for at least two generations. TRD was assessed in 575 participants with the exact binomial test. The transmission ratio for SDHB PV was 0.59 (P = 0.005) in the discovery cohort, 0.67 (P < 0.001) in the validation cohort, and 0.63 (P < 0.001) in the combined cohort. No parent-of-origin effect was observed. TRD remained significant after adjusting for potential confounders: 0.67 (P < 0.001) excluding families with incomplete family size data; 0.58 (P < 0.001) when probands were excluded. TRD was also evident for SDHD PVs in a cohort of 81 patients from 13 families from the UK. The reason for TRD of SDHB and SDHD PVs is unknown, but we hypothesize a survival advantage selected during early embryogenesis. The existence of TRD for SDHB and SDHD has implications for reproductive counselling, and further research into the heterozygote state.

Free access

Umasuthan Srirangalingam, Bernard Khoo, Lisa Walker, Fiona MacDonald, Robert H Skelly, Emad George, David Spooner, Linda B Johnston, John P Monson, Ashley B Grossman, W M Drake, Scott A Akker, Patrick J Pollard, Nick Plowman, Norbert Avril, Daniel M Berney, Jacky M Burrin, Rodney H Reznek, V K Ajith Kumar, Eamonn R Maher, and Shern L Chew

Mutations in succinate dehydrogense-B (SDHB) and the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) genes result in an increased risk of developing chromaffin tumours via a common aetiological pathway. The aim of the present retrospective study was to compare the clinical phenotypes of disease in subjects developing chromaffin tumours as a result of SDHB mutations or VHL disease. Thirty-one subjects with chromaffin tumours were assessed; 16 subjects had SDHB gene mutations and 15 subjects had a diagnosis of VHL. VHL-related tumours were predominantly adrenal phaeochromocytomas (22/26; 84.6%), while SDHB-related tumours were predominantly extra-adrenal paragangliomas (19/25; 76%). Median age at onset of the first chromaffin tumour was similar in the two cohorts. Tumour size was significantly larger in the SDHB cohort in comparison with the VHL cohort (P=0.002). Multifocal disease was present in 9/15 (60%) of the VHL cohort (bilateral phaeochromocytomas) and only 3/16 (19%) of the SDHB cohort, while metastatic disease was found in 5/16 (31%) of the SDHB cohort but not in the VHL cohort to date. The frequency of symptoms, hypertension and the magnitude of catecholamine secretion appeared to be greater in the SDHB cohort. Renal cell carcinomas were a feature in 5/15 (33%) of the VHL cohort and 1/16 (6%) of the SDHB cohort. These data indicate that SDHB-related tumours are predominantly extra-adrenal in location and associated with higher catecholamine secretion and more malignant disease, in subjects who appear more symptomatic. VHL-related tumours tend to be adrenal phaeochromocytomas, frequently bilateral and associated with a milder phenotype.