Neurofibromatosis Risk Factors

Because neurofibromatosis is genetic, it is not associated with controllable risk factors in the way that most other neurological tumors are. The only true risk factor for developing neurofibromatosis is having a parent who also has the condition. In nearly half of all cases of type 1 and type 2 neurofibromatosis, and in around 15 percent of schwannomatosis cases, the condition is passed down from parent to child. The remaining diagnoses are not attributed to specific risk factors; instead, these are the result of unexpected chromosomal mutations.

Although they are not associated with acquired risk factors of their own, types 1 and 2 neurofibromatosis can be risk factors for other, separate neurological conditions. For instance:

  • People who have been diagnosed with type 1 neurofibromatosis have an elevated risk of developing schwannoma, meningioma and glioma.
  • People who have been diagnosed with type 2 neurofibromatosis have a heightened risk of developing meningioma, vestibular schwannoma and spinal cord ependymoma.

There is also a slightly higher incidence of malignant (cancerous) peripheral nerve sheath tumors among individuals who have type 1 or type 2 neurofibromatosis. However, the majority (around 90 percent) of people who have either of these conditions do not develop cancer.

For more information about neurofibromatosis risk factors and the genetic pathways associated with the condition, call 1-800-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online. Our expert oncologists can answer all of your questions, and a referral is not required to schedule a consultation.