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McCune-Albright syndrome

  • Definition
    • McCune-Albright syndrome is a genetic disease that affects the bones and color (pigmentation) of the skin.

  • Alternative Names
    • Polyostotic fibrous dysplasia

  • Causes
    • McCune-Albright syndrome is caused by mutations in the GNAS1 gene. A small number, but not all, of the patient's cells contain this faulty gene (mosaicism).

      This disease is not inherited.

  • Symptoms
    • The hallmark symptom of McCune-Albright syndrome is early puberty in girls. Menstrual periods may begin in early childhood, long before the breasts or pubic hair develop (which normally occur first). Puberty and menstrual bleeding may begin as early as 4 - 6 months in girls.

      Early sexual development may also occur in boys, but not as often as in girls.

      Other symptoms include:

  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment
    • There is no specific treatment for McCune-Albright syndrome. Drugs that block estrogen production, such as testolactone, have been tried with some success.

      Adrenal abnormalities (such as Cushing syndrome) may be treated with surgery to remove the adrenal glands. Gigantism and pituitary adenoma will need to be treated with medicines that block hormone production, or with surgery.

      Bone abnormalities (fibrous dysplasia) are sometimes removed with surgery.

      Limit the number of x-rays taken of affected areas of the body.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Lifespan is relatively normal.

  • Possible Complications
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider if your child starts puberty early, or has other symptoms of McCune-Albright syndrome. Genetic counseling, and possibly genetic testing, may be recommended if the disease is diagnosed.

  • References
    • Garibaldi L, Chemaitilly W. Disorders of pubertal development. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme J, Behrman RE, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 556.