Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN 2B) is a rare cancer syndrome which is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. The molecular basis of this condition has recently been defined as a mutation of codon 918 of exon 16 of the RET proto-oncogene. The mutation in codon 918 has been described in 69 out of 72 families with MEN 2B. We have studied a brother and sister who undoubtedly have the features of MEN 2B as evidenced by medullary thyroid carcinoma, phaeochromocytoma, mucosal neuromas and skeletal abnormalities. Neither of these patients has the classic gene mutation at codon 918 of exon 16 of the RET proto-oncogene, and although exons 2-20 have also been sequenced, no abnormality has been found. DNA analysis is a sensitive method of screening families for the MEN 2 syndromes. The absence of the mutation at codon 918 in a phenotypically normal individual would refute the diagnosis of MEN 2B, but in an individual with some of the features of MEN 2B would make the clinician reconsider the diagnosis. This family demonstrates that, although it is rare, the absence of the mutation in codon 918 of exon 16 of the RET proto-oncogene does not always exclude the diagnosis of MEN 2B. In such families routine biochemical screening for medullary thyroid carcinoma and phaeochromocytoma must be maintained for all individuals at genetic risk.