Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

McCune-Albright syndrome

Definition

McCune-Albright syndrome is a genetic disease that affects the bones and color (pigmentation) of the skin.

Alternative Names

Polyostotic fibrous dysplasia

Causes

McCune-Albright syndrome is caused by mutations in the GNAS gene. A small number, but not all, of the person's cells contain this faulty gene (mosaicism).

This disease is not inherited.

Symptoms

The hallmark symptom of McCune-Albright syndrome is early puberty in girls. Menstrual periods may begin in early childhood, long before the breasts or pubic hair develop (which normally occur first). Puberty and menstrual bleeding may begin as early as 4 to 6 months in girls.

Early sexual development may also occur in boys, but not as often as in girls.

Other symptoms include:

Exams and Tests

A physical examination may show signs of:

  • Abnormal bone growth in the skull
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • Acromegaly
  • Gigantism
  • Large cafe-au-lait spots on the skin
  • Liver disease, jaundice, fatty liver
  • Scar-like tissue in the bone (fibrous dysplasia)

Tests may show too much:

Other tests that may be done include:

Genetic testing is available for the GNAS1 gene.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for McCune-Albright syndrome. Drugs that block estrogen production, such as testolactone, have been tried with some success.

Adrenal abnormalities (such as Cushing syndrome) may be treated with surgery to remove the adrenal glands. Gigantism and pituitary adenoma will need to be treated with medicines that block hormone production, or with surgery.

Bone abnormalities (fibrous dysplasia) are sometimes removed with surgery.

Limit the number of x-rays taken of affected areas of the body.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Lifespan is relatively normal.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if your child starts puberty early, or has other symptoms of McCune-Albright syndrome. Genetic counseling, and possibly genetic testing, may be recommended if the disease is diagnosed.

References

Garibaldi LR, Chemaitilly W. Disorders of pubertal development. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 562.

Styne DM, Grumbach MM. Physiology and disorders of puberty. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 25.

Review Date:8/16/2016
Reviewed By:Anna C. Edens Hurst, MD, MS, Assistant Professor in Medical Genetics at The University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No