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Cowden syndrome 1(CWS1)

MedGen UID:
Concept ID:
Disease or Syndrome
Synonym: CWS1
Gene (location): PTEN (10q23.31)
Monarch Initiative: MONDO:0008021
OMIM®: 158350

Disease characteristics

Excerpted from the GeneReview: PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome
The PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome (PHTS) includes Cowden syndrome (CS), Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome (BRRS), PTEN-related Proteus syndrome (PS), and PTEN-related Proteus-like syndrome. CS is a multiple hamartoma syndrome with a high risk for benign and malignant tumors of the thyroid, breast, kidney, and endometrium. Affected individuals usually have macrocephaly, trichilemmomas, and papillomatous papules, and present by the late 20s. The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 85%, with an average age of diagnosis between 38 and 46 years. The lifetime risk for thyroid cancer (usually follicular, rarely papillary, but never medullary thyroid cancer) is approximately 35%. The lifetime risk for renal cell cancer (predominantly of papillary histology) is 34%. The risk for endometrial cancer may approach 28%. BRRS is a congenital disorder characterized by macrocephaly, intestinal hamartomatous polyposis, lipomas, and pigmented macules of the glans penis. PS is a complex, highly variable disorder involving congenital malformations and hamartomatous overgrowth of multiple tissues, as well as connective tissue nevi, epidermal nevi, and hyperostoses. Proteus-like syndrome is undefined but refers to individuals with significant clinical features of PS who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for PS. [from GeneReviews]
Lamis Yehia  |  Charis Eng   view full author information

Additional description

From MedlinePlus Genetics

The features of Cowden syndrome overlap with those of another disorder called Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome. People with Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome also develop hamartomas and other noncancerous tumors.  Some people with Cowden syndrome have relatives diagnosed with Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, and other affected individuals have the characteristic features of both conditions. Based on these similarities, researchers have proposed that Cowden syndrome and Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome represent a spectrum of overlapping features known as PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome (named for the genetic cause of the conditions) instead of two distinct conditions.

Some people do not meet the strict criteria for a clinical diagnosis of Cowden syndrome, but they have some of the characteristic features of the condition, particularly the cancers. These individuals are often described as having Cowden-like syndrome. Both Cowden syndrome and Cowden-like syndrome are caused by mutations in the same genes.

Cowden syndrome is associated with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, particularly cancers of the breast, a gland in the lower neck called the thyroid, and the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Other cancers that have been identified in people with Cowden syndrome include kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, and an agressive form of skin cancer called melanoma. Compared with the general population, people with Cowden syndrome develop these cancers at younger ages, often beginning in their thirties or forties. People with Cowden syndrome are also more likely to develop more than one cancer during their lifetimes compared to the general population. Other diseases of the breast, thyroid, and endometrium are also common in Cowden syndrome. Additional signs and symptoms can include an enlarged head (macrocephaly) and a rare, noncancerous brain tumor called Lhermitte-Duclos disease. A small percentage of affected individuals have delayed development, intellectual disability, or autism spectrum disorder, which can affect communication and social interaction.

Almost everyone with Cowden syndrome develops hamartomas. These growths are most commonly found on the skin and mucous membranes (such as the lining of the mouth and nose), but they can also occur in the intestine and other parts of the body. The growth of hamartomas on the skin and mucous membranes typically becomes apparent by a person's late twenties.

Cowden syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by multiple noncancerous, tumor-like growths called hamartomas and an increased risk of developing certain cancers.  https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/cowden-syndrome

Professional guidelines


Gorji L, Albrecht P
World J Gastroenterol 2023 Feb 28;29(8):1304-1314. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v29.i8.1304. PMID: 36925460Free PMC Article
Syngal S, Brand RE, Church JM, Giardiello FM, Hampel HL, Burt RW; American College of Gastroenterology
Am J Gastroenterol 2015 Feb;110(2):223-62; quiz 263. Epub 2015 Feb 3 doi: 10.1038/ajg.2014.435. PMID: 25645574Free PMC Article
Pilarski R, Burt R, Kohlman W, Pho L, Shannon KM, Swisher E
J Natl Cancer Inst 2013 Nov 6;105(21):1607-16. Epub 2013 Oct 17 doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt277. PMID: 24136893

Recent clinical studies


Rusiecki D, Lach B
Folia Neuropathol 2016;54(2):190-6. doi: 10.5114/fn.2016.60434. PMID: 27543776

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