Context: The Wilms' tumor suppressor gene (WT1) is one of the major regulators of early gonadal and kidney development. WT1 mutations have been identified in 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSD) with associated kidney disease and in few isolated forms of 46,XY DSD. Objective: The objective of the study was the evaluation of WT1 mutations in different phenotypes of isolated 46,XY DSD and clinical consequences. Design: The design of the study was: 1) sequencing of the WT1 gene in 210 patients with 46,XY DSD from the German DSD network, consisting of 150 males with severe hypospadias (70 without cryptorchidism, 80 with at least one cryptorchid testis), 10 males with vanishing testes syndrome, and 50 raised females with partial to complete 46,XY gonadal dysgenesis; and 2) genotype-phenotype correlation of our and all published patients with 46,XY DSD and WT1 mutations. Results: We have detected WT1 mutations in six of 80 patients with severe hypospadias (7.5%) and at least one cryptorchid testis and in one of 10 patients with vanishing testes syndrome (10%). All patients except one developed Wilms' tumor and/or nephropathy in childhood or adolescence. Conclusion: WT1 analysis should be performed in new borns with complex hypospadias with at least one cryptorchid testis and in isolated 46,XY partial to complete gonadal dysgenesis. Kidney disease might not develop until later life in these cases. WT1 analysis is mandatory in all 46,XY DSD with associated kidney disease. WT1 analysis is not indicated in newborns with isolated hypospadias without cryptorchidism. Patients with WT1 mutations should be followed up closely because the risk of developing a Wilms' tumor, nephropathy, and/or gonadal tumor is very high.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)