Quercetin, an over-the-counter supplement, causes neuroblastoma-like elevation of plasma homovanillic acid

Pediatr Dev Pathol. Nov-Dec 2003;6(6):547-51. doi: 10.1007/s10024-003-5061-7.


A 22-month-old boy, who regularly consumed the oral dietary supplement, quercetin, was suspected erroneously of having a catecholamine-producing tumor, based on elevated serum and urine levels of the dopamine metabolite, homovanillic acid (HVA). Subsequent studies of healthy adult volunteers showed that significant elevations in plasma HVA are a consequence of quercetin ingestion.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / blood
  • Adult
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects*
  • Homovanillic Acid / blood*
  • Homovanillic Acid / urine
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neuroblastoma / blood
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quercetin / adverse effects*
  • Vanilmandelic Acid / blood


  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Vanilmandelic Acid
  • Quercetin
  • Homovanillic Acid