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Basal cell nevus syndrome - close-up of palm
Basal cell nevus syndrome - close-up of palm


Basal cell nevus syndrome - plantar pits
Basal cell nevus syndrome - plantar pits


Basal cell nevus syndrome - face and hand
Basal cell nevus syndrome - face and hand


Basal cell nevus syndrome
Basal cell nevus syndrome


Basal cell nevus syndrome - face
Basal cell nevus syndrome - face


Definition:

Basal cell nevus syndrome is a group of defects, passed down through families, that involve the skin, nervous system, eyes, endocrine glands, and bones.

The condition causes an unusual facial appearance and a higher risk of skin cancers.



Alternative Names:

Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome; Gorlin syndrome



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Basal cell nevus syndrome is a rare genetic condition. The gene linked to the syndrome is passed down through families as an autosomal dominant trait. That means you will get the syndrome if either parent passes the gene down to you.



Symptoms:

The hallmark of this disorder is the appearance of a type of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma at or about puberty.

Symptoms include:

  • Broad nose
  • Heavy, protruding brow
  • Jaw that sticks out (in some cases)
  • Wide-set eyes

The condition may affect the nervous system and lead to:

The condition also leads to bone defects, including:

  • Curvature of the back (scoliosis)
  • Severe curvature of the back (kyphosis )
  • Cysts in the jaw, which can lead to abnormal tooth development or jaw fractures
  • Rib abnormalities


Signs and tests:

The person may have a family history of basal cell nevus syndrome and several basal cell skin cancers in the past.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Genetic testing (in some patients)
  • Skin biopsy of tumors
  • X-rays to check for bone cysts in the jaw, mineral deposits in the brain, and multiple bone abnormalities


Treatment:

Persons with this condition should be seen and treated by several specialists, depending on what part of the body is affected. For example, a cancer specialist (oncologist) may treat tumors, and an orthopedic surgeon may be needed to help treat bone problems.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Frequent follow-up with a variety of doctors is vital to achieving a good outcome.



Complications:
  • Blindness
  • Brain tumor
  • Deafness
  • Ovarian tumors
  • Skin damage due to skin cancers
  • Spontaneous fractures


Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you or any family members have basal cell nevus syndrome and you are planning to have a child.

Call your provider if you have a child who has symptoms of this condition.



Prevention:

Couples with a family history of this syndrome might consider genetic counseling before becoming pregnant.

Avoiding the sun and using sunscreen are necessary to help prevent new basal cell skin cancers.

Avoid ionizing radiation such as x-rays. People with this condition are very sensitive to radiation, and exposure can lead to skin cancers.



References:

Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Jenson HB, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 17th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004.




Review Date: 2/5/2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Associate, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
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