Recent developments in the diagnosis and treatment of pheochromocytoma

Mayo Clin Proc. 1990 Jan;65(1):88-95. doi: 10.1016/s0025-6196(12)62113-2.


The investigation and management of pheochromocytoma have been of special interest at the Mayo Clinic since 1926, when Dr. C. H. Mayo successfully removed an adrenal tumor. Recent clinical developments include the detection of asymptomatic paroxysms of hypertension by 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, detailed characterization of catecholamine cardiomyopathy by echocardiography, and further experience with Carney's triad and other polyglandular and multiple neoplasia syndromes associated with pheochromocytoma. Refinement in interpretation of catecholamine measurements and the development of radionuclide scanning with m-[131I]iodobenzylguanidine, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging have greatly enhanced our diagnostic acumen. Developments in antihypertensive drug therapy and chemotherapy have improved our management of cathecholamine hypersecretion and tumor growth, respectively, in inoperable patients and in the preparation of patients for anesthesia and surgical treatment. Flow cytometry to detect abnormal DNA histograms may prove particularly useful in predicting the malignant nature of the tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / mortality
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Labetalol / therapeutic use
  • Methyltyrosines / therapeutic use
  • Pheochromocytoma / diagnosis*
  • Pheochromocytoma / mortality
  • Pheochromocytoma / therapy
  • Premedication
  • Survival Rate
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • alpha-Methyltyrosine


  • Methyltyrosines
  • alpha-Methyltyrosine
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Labetalol