Little data are available on the natural history of untreated multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1). These data are essential in deciding treatment that may carry significant morbidity. We determined the causes of death in a large MEN-1 kindred with data available over a period of 130 years. Most cases were unrecognized as MEN-1 at the time of patient's death.
Retrospective study of recorded medical data from 1861 to 1991.
One hundred fifty-nine deaths occurred, of which 46 were in individuals classified as "highly probable" of having MEN-1.
Of 46 deaths in those classified as "highly probable" of having MEN-1, 20 (43.5%) died of a recognized complication of MEN-1 (12 of malignant neoplasms, six of renal calculi, and two of peptic ulcer). If accidental deaths are excluded, 50% of the deaths in patients with MEN-1 were the result of MEN-1, and the mean age of death (50.9 years) was significantly younger than that of other family members.
It is concluded that MEN-1 leads to premature death, and that neoplasia rather than peptic ulcer disease is the main cause of death. Deaths from pituitary tumor or malignant endocrine tumors within the thorax were just as common or more common than deaths from pancreatic malignant neoplasms.(Arch Surg. 1993;128:683-690)