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Basal cell nevus syndrome
Alternative namesNevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome; Gorlin's syndrome
DefinitionBasal cell nevus syndrome is an inherited group of multiple defects involving the skin, nervous system, eyes, endocrine glands, and bones. The condition causes an unusual facial appearance and a predisposition for skin cancers.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Basal cell nevus syndrome is a rare condition which is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. This means that if a child inherits the defective gene from either parent, he or she will have the disorder.
Children with this disease have wide set eyes, a broad nasal saddle, and a heavy protruding brow. They may also have a protruding jaw (prognathism). The hallmark of this disorder is the appearance of skin cancer ( basal cell carcinoma ) at or about puberty.
Signs and testsThere is often a family history of basal cell nevus syndrome.
X-rays may reveal bone cysts in the jaw, calcification of falx cerebri (mineral deposits in the brain), and multiple bone abnormalities.
Skin biopsy of tumors may be used to determine that they are basal cell carcinoma .
Genetic testing may demonstrate an abnormality in some patients with this disorder.
TreatmentThis condition requires evaluation and treatment by several specialists, depending on the affected systems. For example, a cancer specialist (oncologist) may treat tumors, and an orthopedic surgeon may be needed to help treat bone abnormalities.
Frequent follow-up with a variety of doctors is vital to achieving a good outcome.
Calling your health care providerCall 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 health care provider if you have a child who has symptoms suggestive of this condition.
Genetic counseling will be of value to prospective parents. If one parent is affected, the probability is 50% that the infant will be affected also.
Sun avoidance and sunscreen use are a must to decrease the appearance of new basal cell carcinomas.
Update Date: 7/24/2002Jeffrey Drayer, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT