Phenotype, cancer risk, and surveillance in Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome depending on molecular genetic subgroups

Saskia M. Maas, Fleur Vansenne, Daniel J.M. Kadouch, Abdulla Ibrahim, Jet Bliek, Saskia Hopman, Marcel M. Mannens, Johannes H.M. Merks, Eamonn R. Maher, Raoul C. Hennekam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) have an increased risk to develop cancer in childhood, especially Wilms tumor and hepatoblastoma. The risk varies depending on the cause of BWS. We obtained clinical and molecular data in our cohort of children with BWS, including tumor occurrences, and correlated phenotype and genotype. We obtained similar data from larger cohorts reported in the literature. Phenotype, genotype and tumor occurrence were available in 229 of our own patients. Minor differences in phenotype existed depending on genotype/epigenotype, similar to earlier studies. By adding patients from the literature, we obtained data on genotype and tumor occurrence of in total 1,971 BWS patients. Tumor risks were highest in the IC1 (H19/IGF2:IG-DMR) hypermethylation subgroup (28%) and pUPD subgroup (16%) and were lower in the KCNQ1OT1:TSS-DMR (IC2) subgroup (2.6%), CDKN1C (6.9%) subgroup, and the group in whom no molecular defect was detectable (6.7%). Wilms tumors (median age 24 months) were frequent in the IC1 (24%) and pUPD (7.9%) subgroups. Hepatoblastoma occurred mostly in the pUPD (3.5%) and IC2 (0.7%) subgroups, never in the IC1 and CDKN1C subgroups, and always before 30 months of age. In the CDKN1C subgroup 2.8% of patients developed neuroblastoma. We conclude tumor risks in BWS differ markedly depending on molecular background. We propose a differentiated surveillance protocol, based on tumor risks in the various molecular subgroups causing BWS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2248-2260
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number9
Early online date15 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • genotype–phenotype correlation
  • hepatoblastoma
  • neuroblastoma
  • Wiedemann–Beckwith syndrome
  • Wilms tumor


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