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Cancer Health Center

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PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome

It is possible that the main title of the report PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • PHTS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome
  • Cowden disease
  • Cowden syndrome
  • multiple hamartoma syndrome
  • proteus-like syndrome

General Discussion

The PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome (PHTS) is a spectrum of disorders caused by mutations of the PTEN gene. These disorders are characterized by multiple hamartomas that can affect various areas of the body. Hamartoma is a general term for benign tumor-like malformation composed of mature cells and tissue normally found in the affected area that have grown in a disorganized manner.

Individuals with a variety of clinical diagnoses who ultimately have been found to carry a germline PTEN mutation as the underlying cause are said to have PHTS. When the strictest diagnostic criteria are used, patients with a personal and family history of Cowden syndrome (CS) features have up to an 85% chance to have a PTEN mutation. Patients with features of Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome (BRRS) and with features reminiscent of but not meeting diagnostic criteria for Proteus syndrome (called Proteus-like syndrome) have also been found to have an underlying PHTS diagnosis. Recently a mutation risk calculator has been developed which can estimate the risk for adults to have a PTEN mutation based on their personal history characteristics; this tool is available online at

Once thought to be completely separate conditions, patients with features of CS or BRRS and an underlying PTEN mutation are unified as all having PHTS, with CS being a diagnosis traditionally given to adults and BRRS being first described in the pediatrics literature. This makes sense given that many of the characteristics first associated with CS tend to not appear until adulthood. PHTS is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, which means it can be passed down in a 50-50 fashion. The symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient, even among individuals in the same family. For more information on Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome and Proteus syndrome, see NORD's individual reports on these disorders in the Rare Disease Database.


March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
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Tel: (888)663-4637

American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams NW St
Ste 6000
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345
TDD: (866)228-4327

National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Tel: (301)435-3848
Tel: (800)422-6237
TDD: (800)332-8615

Rare Cancer Alliance
1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Madisons Foundation
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310)264-0826
Fax: (310)264-4766

FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
16057 Tampa Palms Blvd. W.
PMB #373
Tampa, FL 33647
Tel: (954)827-2200
Tel: (866)288-7475

PTEN World

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 3/16/2012
Copyright 2007, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: 8/, 015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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