Disease Profile

Carney triad

Prevalence ?
Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.
<1 / 1 000 000

< 331

US Estimated

< 514

Europe Estimated

Age of Onset





Autosomal dominant ?A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease


Autosomal recessive ?Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype


X-linked dominant ?X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


X-linked recessive ?Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder


Mitochondrial or multigenic ?Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor ?Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other Names (AKA)

Gastric leiomyosarcoma, pulmonary chondroma, and extraadrenal paraganglioma


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Endocrine Diseases; Rare Cancers


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 139411

A rare non-hereditary condition characterized by gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST, intramural mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract with neuronal or neural crest cell origin), pulmonary chondromas and extraadrenal paragangliomas.

Less than 100 cases have been reported worldwide. Carney's triad primarily affects young women (mean age of onset 20 years).

Clinical description
Most patients initially present with two of the three tumors (incomplete Carney's triad). The main symptoms at presentation are gastrointestinal bleeding, epigastric pain, anemia and palpable abdominal mass. These symptoms are related to the GIST, which occur in 99% of cases. Additional features include headaches, fatigue, anorexia, hypertension and tachycardia. Pulmonary chondromas (well-differentiated benign cartilaginous tumors) occur in approximately 80% of cases. They are often asymptomatic and may be unilateral (83%) or bilateral (32%). Secreting paragangliomas (typically extraadrenal and most often mediastinal) occur in approximately 50% of patients.

The etiology is not completely understood. Impaired succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) function resulting from chromosomal losses (but not mutations) has been detected in some patients with Carney's triad, while SDHD, SDHB or SDHC germline mutations have been found in some patients with Carney-Stratakis dyad (see this term).

Diagnostic methods
Gastroscopy, radiography and computing tomography are the main diagnostic methods. SDH genetic testing is available. The absence of a paraganglioma, which usually completes the triad after several years (median: 6 years), does not allow exclusion of the diagnosis of Carney's triad. Iodine 131-metoiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy and Octrescan® may help to detect paragangliomas.

Differential diagnosis
The differential diagnosis should include Carney-Stratakis dyad.

Management and treatment
The treatment of choice for GIST and its metastases (overall rate: 50%) is surgical resection. GIST associated with Carney's triad are mostly indolent. Recurrence after surgery is found in approximately 50% of patients, with a mean interval after the initial presentation of 12 years. Imatinib mesylate, an effective agent in the treatment of GIST, is under investigation as an adjuvant treatment. Paragangliomas require surgical resection; chemotherapy and metabolic radiotherapy may be used in malignant cases (overall rate: 10%). Surgery for pulmonary chondromas is indicated only in case of impaired lung function. Approaches targeting SDH function may potentially be useful in treating patients with Carney's triad who show SDH deficiencies. However, at present, there is no drug that restores SDH function. Life-long follow-up should be offered to all patients with Carney's triad.

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Abdominal pain
Pain in stomach
Stomach pain

[ more ]

Watery stool

[ more ]

Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
Gastrointestinal bleeding
Gastrointestinal stroma tumor
Nausea and vomiting
30%-79% of people have these symptoms
Adrenal overactivity
Adrenocortical adenoma
Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
Mediastinal lymphadenopathy
Swollen lymph nodes in center of chest
Pulmonary infiltrates
Lung infiltrates
Fast heart rate
Heart racing
Racing heart

[ more ]

5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Low number of red blood cells or hemoglobin

Learn More

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a 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. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Carney triad. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.