Pheochromocytoma: recommendations for clinical practice from the First International Symposium

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Abstract

SUMMARY

The First International Symposium on Pheochromocytoma, held in October 2005, included discussions about developments concerning these rare catecholamine-producing tumors. Recommendations were made during the symposium for biochemical diagnosis, localization, genetics, and treatment. Measurement of plasma or urinary fractionated metanephrines, the most accurate screening approach, was recommended as the first-line test for diagnosis; reference intervals should favor sensitivity over specificity. Localization studies should only follow reasonable clinical evidence of a tumor. Preoperative pharmacologic blockade of circulatory responses to catecholamines is mandatory. Because approximately a quarter of tumors develop secondary to germ-line mutations in any one of five genes, mutation testing should be considered; however, it is not currently cost effective to test every gene in every patient. Consideration of tumor location, presence of multiple tumors, presence of metastases, and type of catecholamine produced is useful in deciding which genes to test. Inadequate methods to distinguish malignant from benign tumors and a lack of effective treatments for malignancy are important problems requiring further resolution.

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