broad thumbs and toes

Pfeiffer Syndrome

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Patients may have extreme proptosis (95%) secondary to shallow orbits and exposure keratitis (41%) is a risk.  Hypertelorism, strabismus, and antimongoloid lid slants are common.  More rare signs include anterior chamber anomalies and optic nerve hypoplasia.

Systemic Features: 

Pfeiffer syndrome has been divided into 3 types, of which cases with types 2 and 3 often die young.  Type 1 has the more typical features with midface hypoplasia, broad thumbs and toes, craniosynostosis, and often some degree of syndactyly.  Adult patients with type 1 may be only mildly affected with some degree of midface hypoplasia and minor broadening of the first digits.  Hearing loss secondary to bony defects is relatively common.  Cleft palate is uncommon.  Airway malformations especially in the trachea can cause respiratory problems.


This is a genetically heterogeneous disorder resulting from mutations in at least 2 genes, FGFR1 (8p11.2-p11.1) and FGFR2 (10q26).  The less common cases with the latter mutation are allelic to Apert (101200), Crouzon (123500), and Jackson-Weiss (123150) syndromes.  Inheritance is autosomal dominant but some cases are only mildly affected.  New mutations exhibit a paternal age effect.

Other forms of craniosynostosis in which mutations in FGFR2 have been found are: Beare-Stevenson Syndrome (123790), and Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome (101400).

Autosomal dominant
Treatment Options: 

Exposure keratitis requires the usual treatment.  Fronto-orbital advancement surgery for the midface underdevelopment is generally helpful for the complications of proptosis.  Airway obstruction may require tracheostomy or surgical correction of the air passages.

Article Title: 

FGFR2 mutations in Pfeiffer syndrome

Lajeunie E, Ma HW, Bonaventure J, Munnich A, Le Merrer M, Renier D. FGFR2 mutations in Pfeiffer syndrome. Nat Genet. 1995 Feb;9(2):108.

PubMed ID: 
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