Changing paradigms in the treatment of malignant pheochromocytoma

Cancer Control. 2011 Apr;18(2):104-12. doi: 10.1177/107327481101800205.


Background: Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are intra- and extra-adrenal neoplasms that are rarely malignant. The treatment of those that are malignant has remained a challenge because little was known about the molecular pathways involved in its malignant transformation. Recently, however, the genetic and molecular changes involved in malignant pheochromocytoma have come to be understood.

Methods: The authors review the recent literature about the changing treatment options for malignant pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas.

Results: Traditional treatments for malignant pheochromocytoma remain unsuccessful. With the advances made in genomics and proteomics, novel pathways in pheochromocytoma carcinogenesis are becoming the targets of new treatment strategies and show promising results.

Conclusions: Although several studies and clinical trials show great promise for improving the treatment of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas, the hope is that future collaborative efforts will allow for prospective clinical trials using an evidenced-based approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine / therapeutic use
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / genetics
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Catheter Ablation
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Pheochromocytoma / genetics
  • Pheochromocytoma / therapy*


  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine