Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) and paragangliomas (PGLs) are rare but unique neuroendocrine tumors. The hypersecretion of catecholamines from the tumors can be associated with high morbidity and mortality, even when tumors are benign. Up to 40% of PCCs/PGLs are associated with germline mutations in susceptibility genes. About one-quarter are malignant, defined by the presence of distant metastases. Treatment options for unresectable metastatic disease, including chemotherapy, (131)I-MIBG, and radiation, can offer limited tumor and hormone control, although none are curative. This article reviews the inherited genetics, diagnosis, and treatment of PCCs and PGLs.
Keywords: Genetics; Malignant; Metastatic; Paraganglioma; Pheochromocytoma; Treatment.
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