Neurofibromatosis type 1: State-of-the-art review with emphasis on pulmonary involvement.


Sérgio Ferreira Alves Júnior


Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1), also known as von Recklinghausen's disease, is an autosomal dominant dysplasia of the ectoderm and mesoderm with a variable clinical expression, but near-complete penetrance before the age of 5 years. The estimated incidence is 1 in 3000 births. NF-1 is characterized by collections of neurofibromas, café-au-lait spots, axillary and inguinal freckling, and pigmented hamartomas in the iris (Lisch nodules). Pulmonary manifestations of NF-1, which usually include bilateral basal reticulations and apical bullae and cysts, are reported in 10-20% of adult patients. Clinically, neurofibromatosis-associated diffuse lung disease (NF-DLD) usually presents with nonspecific respiratory symptoms, including dyspnea on exertion, shortness of breath, and chronic cough or chest pain, at the time of diagnosis. Computed tomography (CT) is highly accurate for the identification and characterization of NF-DLD; it is the most reliable method for the diagnosis of this lung involvement. Various CT findings of NF-DLD, including cysts, bullae, ground-glass opacities, bibasilar reticular opacities, and emphysema, have been described in patients with NF-1. The typical CT pattern, however, is characterized by upper-lobe cystic and bullous disease, and basilar interstitial lung disease. Currently, the goal of NF-DLD treatment is the earliest possible diagnosis, focusing on symptom relief and interventions that positively alter the course of the disease, such as smoking cessation. The aim of this review is to describe the main clinical, pathological, and imaging aspects of NF-1, with a focus on pulmonary involvement.


Computed tomography,Interstitial lung disease,Neurofibromatosis type 1,Pulmonary diseases,Pulmonary hypertension,