Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor that usually starts in the cells of one of your adrenal glands. Although they are usually benign, pheochromocytomas often cause the adrenal gland to make too many hormones. This can lead to high blood pressure and cause symptoms such as
- Pounding of the heart
- Being shaky
- Being extremely pale
Sometimes pheochromocytoma is part of another condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome (MEN). People with MEN often have other cancers and other problems involving hormones.
Doctors use lab tests and imaging tests to diagnose it. Surgery is the most common treatment. Other options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
- General Information about Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Pheochromocytoma (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Catecholamines, Plasma and Urine Test (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
- How Do Health Care Providers Diagnose Pheochromocytoma? (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
- Plasma Free Metanephrines (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
- Stages of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Urine Metanephrines (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
Treatments and Therapies
- Laparoscopic Adrenal Gland Removal (Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons)
- Treatment Option Overview (Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma) (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Treatment Options for Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma (National Cancer Institute)
- Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type I (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- Genetics Home Reference: hereditary paraganglioma-pheochromocytoma (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: nonsyndromic paraganglioma (National Library of Medicine)
Statistics and Research
- Neuroendocrine Tumors: Statistics (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Pheochromocytoma (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: A 44 year old woman with episodic sweating and hypertension.
- Article: Hereditary Diseases Predisposing to Pheochromocytoma (VHL, NF-1, Paraganglioma Syndromes, and Novel...
- Article: Experience of an endocrine surgeon in laparoscopic transperitoneal adrenalectomy.
- Pheochromocytoma -- see more articles
- Paraganglioma Anatomy (National Cancer Institute)