An unusual case of Cowden syndrome associated with ganglioneuromatous polyposis

Steffen Pistorius*, Barbara Klink, Jessica Pablik, Andreas Rump, Daniela Aust, Marlene Garzarolli, Evelin Schröck, Hans K. Schackert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ganglioneuromatous polyposis (GP) is a very rare disorder which may be associated with other clinical manifestations and syndromes, such as Cowden syndrome, multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type II and neurofibromatosis (NF) 1. The risk for malignant transformation of ganglioneuromas is unknown, and the combination of GP with colon cancer has been only very seldom reported. Methods and results: We report the case of a 60-year old male patient with adenocarcinoma, adenomas and lipomas of the colon and multiple gastroduodenal lesions combined with generalised lipomatosis and macrocephaly. Based on the initial endoscopic and histological findings, a (restorative) proctocolectomy was recommended but declined by the patient. Instead, a colectomy was performed. The histological examination revealed an unforeseen GP in addition to the colon cancer. Extensive molecular diagnostics allowed for the differential diagnosis of the causes of the clinical manifestations, and the clinical suspicion of Cowden syndrome could not be confirmed using Sanger Sequencing and MLPA for the analysis of PTEN. Finally, a pathogenic germline mutation in PTEN (heterozygous stop mutation in exon 2: NM_000314 (PTEN):c.138C > A; p.Tyr46*) could be detected by next-generation sequencing (NGS), confirming an unusual presentation of Cowden syndrome with GP. Conclusions: Cowden syndrome should be considered in cases of GP with extracolonic manifestation and verified by combined clinical and molecular diagnostics. Because GP may represent a premalignant condition, a surgical-oncological prophylactic procedure should be considered. Based on our experience, we recommend early implementation of Panel NGS rather than classical Sanger sequencing for genetic diagnostics, especially if various diagnoses are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalHereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Colon cancer
  • Cowden syndrome
  • Ganglioneuromatous polyposis
  • PTEN germline mutation


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