JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Phaeochromocytoma

Jacques W M Lenders, Graeme Eisenhofer, Massimo Mannelli, Karel Pacak
Lancet 2005 August 20, 366 (9486): 665-75
16112304
Phaeochromocytomas are rare neuroendocrine tumours with a highly variable clinical presentation but most commonly presenting with episodes of headaches, sweating, palpitations, and hypertension. The serious and potentially lethal cardiovascular complications of these tumours are due to the potent effects of secreted catecholamines. Biochemical testing for phaeochromocytoma is indicated not only in symptomatic patients, but also in patients with adrenal incidentalomas or identified genetic predispositions (eg, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, neurofibromatosis type 1, and mutations of the succinate dehydrogenase genes). Imaging techniques such as CT or MRI and functional ligands such as (123)I-MIBG are used to localise biochemically proven tumours. After the use of appropriate preoperative treatment to block the effects of secreted catecholamines, laparoscopic tumour removal is the preferred procedure. If removal of phaeochromocytoma is timely, prognosis is excellent. However, prognosis is poor in patients with metastases, which especially occur in patients with large, extra-adrenal tumours.

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