Metastatic paraganglioma of the spine: case report and review of the literature

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2013 Sep;115(9):1571-4. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Feb 9.


Paragangliomas are relatively rare tumors, accounting for only about 0.3% of all neoplasms. Most paragangliomas are defined as benign in nature, but 10-20% possess metastatic potential. There have been scattered reports of metastatic paraganglioma in the literature, but in rare circumstances, paragangliomas can metastasize to the spinal column causing destruction or compression of the spinal cord, clinically manifesting as pain or neurological deficit. We report a case of metastatic paraganglioma in which a 47-year-old man had spinal metastasis from a primary abdominal paraganglioma and was found to be positive for SDHB mutation, portraying negative implications for prognosis. Long-term follow-up is reported. In addition, we review the literature on the topic of metastatic paraganglioma, management of paragangliomas involving spine, and touch on the importance of the presence of SDHB mutations in these cases.

Keywords: Malignancy; Metastasis; Paraganglioma; Spine; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Paraganglioma / pathology*
  • Paraganglioma / secondary*
  • Paraganglioma / surgery
  • Spinal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography


  • Biomarkers, Tumor