Functional Ulnar Nerve Paraganglioma: First Documented Occurrence in the Extremity With Hitherto Undescribed Associated Extensive Glomus Cell Hyperplasia and Tumorlet Formation

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Extra-adrenal paraganglioma has never been described in the extremities. A 34-year-old woman complained of an enlarging mass in the right forearm for 18 months. Imaging showed a circumscribed vascular tumor attached to the ulnar nerve; biopsy revealed features of paraganglioma. The resected tumor consisted of zellballen pattern of chief cells staining positively for chromogranin with surrounding S100-positive sustentacular cells. The chief cells contained many neurosecretory granules and mitochondria, whereas the sustentacular cells contained a large amount of rough endoplasmic reticulum and some microfilaments. There was adjacent extensive glomus cell hyperplasia and tumorlet formation. The intraoperative blood pressure dropped abruptly on tumor removal. The serum normetanephrine level decreased from a preoperative level of 1987 pg/mL (normal < 149 pg/mL) to normal after operation. The patient admitted on questioning to a history of paroxysmal attacks of transient palpitation, hand tremors, and sweating; imaging showed no evidence of tumor in other parts of the body, and there was no family history of similar tumor; she remained well 33 months after the operation. This occurrence of functional ulnar nerve paraganglioma with the hitherto undescribed associated glomus cell hyperplasia and tumorlet formation attests to the probable existence of normal sympathetic paraganglia in the extremity and their intimate functional relationship with glomus bodies.

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