What are the symptoms of McCune Albright Syndrome?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 07, 2013

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People with McCune-Albright syndrome may have symptoms related to bones, the endocrine system, or skin.  The symptoms can range from mild to severe. 

Bone symptoms

  • Those with McCune-Albright syndrome often have polyostotic fibrous dysplasia (pronounced pa-lee-oh-STOT-ik  FIE-bruss  diss-PLAY-jsha), which occurs when normal bone is replaced by softer, fibrous tissue.  When this happens in weight-bearing bones, such as the leg bones, it can cause limping, deformity, and fractures.
  • People with McCune-Albright syndrome often have this dysplasia condition in the bones of the skull and upper jaw, so these bones grow unevenly.  There is no known hormonal or medical treatment for controlling this aspect of disease, although surgery can help correct some fractures and deformities.

Endocrine system symptoms

  • Precocious, or very early, puberty – Girls with McCune-Albright syndrome begin to show signs of puberty much younger than normal. Menstrual bleeding before two years of age is the first symptom of McCune-Albright syndrome for most female patients. Boys with the condition may show signs of puberty early, but these signs are less common than in girls.
  • Thyroid function – The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that affects the metabolism. About half of patients with McCune-Albright syndrome have problems with their thyroid glands, such as enlargement or masses (called nodules or cysts).  Drug therapy can sometimes improve thyroid function.
  • Growth hormone – Some patients have too much pituitary growth hormone, which causes coarse facial features, larger hands and feet, and arthritis.  Treatments include surgery and medication.
  • Cushing’s syndrome – This is a rare problem for McCune-Albright syndrome patients.  Symptoms include obesity of the face and body, weight gain, skin fragility, and stopping growth in childhood.  Cushing’s syndrome is treated by removing the affected glands or with medicine.

Skin symptoms

  • McCune-Albright syndrome can cause patches of increased or darker skin coloring.  These areas are called café-au-lait spots because, in children with light complexions, these spots are the color of coffee with milk. In darker skinned children, the spots might be hard to see.
  • Most children have these spots from birth and the spots rarely grow.  There are usually not any medical problems caused by these skin changes.


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