Copley-Merriman C, Yang X, Juniper M, Amin S, Yoo HK, Sen SS. Natural history and disease burden of neurofibromatosis type 1 with plexiform neurofibromas: a systematic review. Adolesc Health Med Ther. 2021 May 19;12:55-66. doi: 10.2147/AHMT.S303456.


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an incurable genetic condition that frequently includes the development of plexiform neurofibromas (PNs) in patients. A systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted to identify data on the natural history, disease burden, and treatment patterns among patients diagnosed with NF1 and PN, as well as to identify evidence gaps in these areas. MEDLINE and MEDLINE In-Process, Embase, and Cochrane Library Searches were searched using predefined terms. Potential articles underwent two phases of screening by two independent researchers. The search strategy identified 952 unique articles and conference abstracts, of which 13 records focused on populations of patients with both NF1 and PN and were included in this review. An additional 26 records focusing on patients with NF1 and PN were included after being identified through review of the reference lists of identified SLRs, conference searches, and grey literature. The wide range of PN-related complications creates a substantial quality-of-life (QOL) burden for patients, including pain, social functioning, physical function impact, stigma, and emotional distress. The severe burden of NF1 with PN on the QOL of patients demonstrates the high unmet need for an effective treatment option that can reduce tumor burden and improve QOL. The heterogeneity of measurement tools used to evaluate QOL and the gap in data evaluating the health economic burden of PN should be the focus of future research.

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