Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is multiple endocrine neoplasia diagnosed?

The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) is sometimes diagnosed if your child has developed cancers known to occur with MEN. If there is a family history of these conditions, your child may be tested for them before they develop tumors or other associated problems. Your child’s physician may order a number of different tests including:

There may be other diagnostic tests that your doctor will discuss with you depending on your child's individual situation. After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then, we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best possible treatment options.

What are the treatment options for multiple endocrine neoplasia?

Treatment for your child's MEN1 or MEN2 depends on the type of condition and whether or not tumors have developed. Your child’s doctor may recommend:

  • screening for tumors related to your child’s condition
  • surgery to prevent the development of medullary thyroid cancer in patients with MEN2
  • surgery to remove any tumors that have developed
  • radiation
  • chemotherapy
  • genetic counselling to discuss reproductive options

Different groups of chemotherapy drugs work in different ways. Your child may receive chemotherapy orally, intramuscularly, intravenously or intrathecally as a direct injection into the spinal column through a needle. Often, a combination of chemotherapy drugs is used.

While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the drugs cannot differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells. As a result, there can be adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help the care team, child, and family prepare and, in some cases, prevent these complications from occurring, if at all possible.

What is the long-term outlook for children with multiple endocrine neoplasia?

Children with MEN who had been treated for a tumor should visit a survivorship clinic yearly. Through the David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic, our cancer survivorship clinic, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation from their cancer care team. In addition to meeting with your pediatric oncologists, your child may see one of our endocrinologists, cardiologists, neurologists, neuro-psychologists, or alternative/complementary therapy specialists. We also offer patient and family education, psychosocial assessment, genetic counseling, reproductive counseling, and opportunities to speak with other childhood cancer survivors.