Fanconi anemia: correlating central nervous system malformations and genetic complementation groups

Benjamin A. Johnson-Tesch, Rakhee Gawande, Lei Zhang, Margaret L. MacMillan, David R. Nascene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Congenital central nervous system abnormalities in children with Fanconi anemia are poorly characterized, especially with regard to specific genetic complementation groups. Objective: To characterize the impact of genetic complementation groups on central nervous system anatomy. Materials and methods: Through chart review we identified 36 patients with Fanconi anemia with available brain MRIs at the University of Minnesota (average age, 11.3 years; range, 1–43 years; M:F=19:17), which we reviewed and compared to 19 age- and sex-matched controls (average age, 7.9 years; range, 2–18 years; M:F=9:10). Genotypic information was available for 27 patients (15 FA-A, 2 FA-C, 3 FA-G, and 7 FA-D1 [biallelic mutations in BRCA2 gene]). Results: Of the 36 patients, 61% had at least one congenital central nervous system or skull base abnormality. These included hypoplastic clivus (n=12), hypoplastic adenohypophysis (n=11), platybasia (n=8), pontocerebellar hypoplasia (n=7), isolated pontine hypoplasia (n=4), isolated vermis hypoplasia (n=3), and ectopic neurohypophysis (n=6). Average pituitary volume was significantly less in patients with Fanconi anemia (P<0.0001) than in controls. Basal angle was significantly greater in Fanconi anemia patients (P=0.006), but the basal angle of those with FA-D1 was not significantly different from controls (P=0.239). Clivus length was less in the Fanconi anemia group (P=0.002), but significance was only observed in the FA-D1 subgroup (P<0.0001). Of the seven patients meeting criteria for pontocerebellar hypoplasia, six belonged to the FA-D1 group. Conclusion: Patients with Fanconi anemia have higher incidences of ectopic neurohypophysis, adenohypophysis hypoplasia, platybasia and other midline central nervous system skull base posterior fossa abnormalities than age- and sex-matched controls. Patients with posterior fossa abnormalities, including pontocerebellar hypoplasia, are more likely to have biallelic BRCA2 mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-876
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • BRCA2
  • Central nervous system
  • Children
  • Congenital
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Pontocerebellar hypoplasia
  • Radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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