JOURNAL ARTICLE

Is there still a place for adrenal venous sampling in the diagnostic localization of pheochromocytoma?

Roland Därr, Graeme Eisenhofer, Jörg Kotzerke, Klaus Zöphel, Christian Stroszczynski, Jaap Deinum, Leo J Schultze Kool, Steffen Pistorius, Hartmut Neumann, Stefan R Bornstein, Lorenz C Hofbauer
Endocrine 2011, 40 (1): 75-9
21509651
Our objective is to outline the utility of adrenal venous sampling (AVS) with measurements of metanephrine to normetanephrine ratios for diagnostic localization of phaeochromocytoma in a patient with normal plasma levels of catecholamines. A 53-year-old-woman was referred for evaluation of recurrent pheochromocytoma following a right adrenalectomy 14 years earlier. Diagnosis of recurrent disease was established from elevations in plasma metanephrines with normal levels of catecholamines. Magnetic resonance imaging indicated two 1-2 cm masses in the right surgical bed and another 1-1.5 cm mass in the left adrenal. These masses were negative on (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy. There was no evidence of a hereditary syndrome. We, therefore, carried out two investigational approaches to identify the tumor masses. Hybrid positron emission tomography/computed tomography with (68)Ga-DOTATOC ((68)Ga-DOTATOC-PET/CT) confirmed the presence of recurrent disease in the right surgical bed and also suggested additional left adrenal involvement. Normal plasma catecholamines precluded the use of adrenal venous sampling (AVS) with catecholamine measurements. Hence, we performed AVS with measurements of plasma metanephrines, which were 4- to 7-fold higher in the left adrenal vein than in central venous plasma. We observed a reversal of the normally high metanephrine to normetanephrine ratio (mean value ± SD 5.28 ± 1.86; range 3.36-8.84, n = 13) to 0.73, establishing the presence of a left adrenal pheochromocytoma. Surgical pathology confirmed bilateral disease. This case highlights a scenario where a combination of (68)Ga-DOTATOC-PET/CT and AVS with measurement of the metanephrine to normetanephrine ratio was crucial for the preoperative assessment of a patient with bilateral pheochromocytoma.

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