Preoperative genetic testing in pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas influences the surgical approach and the extent of adrenal surgery

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Background.Our knowledge of the susceptibility genes for pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas has increased; however, data on its impact on surgical decision-making has not been described. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of routine preoperative genetic testing on the operative intervention in patients with pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas.Methods.One-hundred-eight patients diagnosed with pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas who underwent 118 operations had preoperative genetic testing for 9 known pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma susceptibility genes. A retrospective analysis of a prospective database was performed to evaluate clinical factors associated with the surgical approach selected and the outcome of the surgical intervention.Results.In 51 patients (47%), a germline mutation was detected and one-third had no family history of pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma. In 77 operations (65%), it was the first operative intervention for the disease site (60 laparoscopic, 17 open), and 41 (35%) were reoperative interventions (36 open, 5 laparoscopic). For initial operations, variables associated with whether an open or laparoscopic approach was used were tumor size (P = .009) and presence of germline mutation (P = .042). Sixty-eight adrenal operations were performed (54 total, 14 cortical-sparing). Variables significantly associated with a cortical-sparing adrenalectomy being performed were the presence of germline mutation (P = .006) and tumor size (P = .013).Conclusion.Preoperative knowledge of the germline mutation status affects the surgical approach and extent of adrenalectomy.

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