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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Von Hippel-Lindau disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • VHL
  • VHL syndrome
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
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Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is a genetic multi-system disorder characterized by the abnormal growth of tumors in certain parts of the body (angiomatosis). The specific tumors that are associated with VHL disease include hemangioblastomas (tumors comprised of a nest of blood vessels) of the brain, spinal cord, and retina; kidney cysts and clear cell kidney cell carcinoma; pheochromocytoma (a type of noncancerous tumor that affects the adrenal glands, which are the small hormone-producing glands located on top of each kidney); and endolymphatic sac tumors (a type of tumor of the inner ear area called the endolymphatic sac).[1][2] Mutations in the VHL gene cause VHL disease. These mutations are  inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern.[2] Detecting and treating VHL early is important. Treatment usually involves surgery or sometimes radiation therapy. The goal is to treat growths while they are small and before they do permanent damage.[3]
Last updated: 5/20/2013


  1. Schimke RN, Collins DL, and Stolle CA. Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome. GeneReviews Web site. 2007; Accessed 2/9/2009.
  2. Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). July 2008; Accessed 7/5/2011.
  3. Von Hippel-Lindau Disease. MedlinePlus. 2010; Accessed 3/18/2011.
Your Questions Answered
by the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

3 question(s) from the public on Von Hippel-Lindau disease have been answered. See questions and answers. You can also submit a new question.

Basic Information

  • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Von Hippel-Lindau disease. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The VHL Family Alliance has created a handbook on Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome called
    The VHL Handbook: What you Need to Know about VHL. The publication is a reference handbook for people with von Hippel-Lindau Disease, their families, and support personnel. Click on the name of the handbook to read more.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Von Hippel-Lindau disease. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

Selected Full-Text Journal Articles

  • Click here to read a review article published in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology about Von Hippel-Lindau disease entitled: Von Hippel–Lindau Disease: Molecular Pathological Basis, Clinical Criteria, Genetic Testing, Clinical Features of Tumors and Treatment

Insurance Issues

  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) created the Compassionate Allowance Initiative to speed up the processing of disability claims for applicants with certain conditions. Click on the link to view the Compassionate Allowance information for kidney cancer, a cancer associated with this condition. More information about applying for Social Security disability benefits is available online.
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