Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2) is an autosomal dominantly inherited tumor syndrome subclassified into three distinct syndromes: MEN 2A, MEN 2B and familial medullary thyroid carcinoma. In MEN 2 families, medullary thyroid carcinoma, pheochromocytomas and parathyroid adenomas occur with a variable frequency, also depending on the specific genetic defect involved. In 1993, the responsible MEN2 gene was identified. The genetic defect in these disorders involves the RET proto-oncogene on chromosome 10. The germline RET mutations result in a gain-of-function of the RET protein. Extensive studies on large families revealed that there is a strong genotype-phenotype correlation. In this review, guidelines for early diagnosis, including MEN2 gene mutation analysis, and treatment, including preventive surgery, periodic and clinical monitoring, have been formulated, enabling improvement of life expectancy and quality of life. Identification of the RET protein has also provided new insights into its function, and the specific pathways it effects involved in cell proliferation, migration, differentiation and survival. In the near future, identification of biological tumor markers will enable target-directed intervention and may prevent and/or delay progression of both primary and residual tumor growth.

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Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lips, C., van Veelen, W., Links, T., & Höppener, J. (2009). Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2. Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism (Vol. 4, pp. 443–465). doi:10.1586/eem.09.33