[Biochemical diagnosis of pheochromocytoma by determining normetanephrine and metanephrine concentrations in single voided urine]

Nihon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi. 1988 Aug 20;64(8):707-16. doi: 10.1507/endocrine1927.64.8_707.
[Article in Japanese]


Diagnosis of pheochromocytoma has been made by the determination of urinary noradrenaline and adrenaline excretion for 24 hours. The assay procedure and the collection of urine for 24 hrs. are intricate. In the present study, we have ascertained the clinical significance of urinary normetanephrine (NM) and metanephrine (M), chemically stable metabolites of catecholamines, in single voided urine for a diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. Urine and plasma samples were collected from 361 normal subjects, 59 patients with essential hypertension, 22 patients with chronic renal failure and 22 patients with pheochromocytoma. Urinary NM and M concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay with prior hydrolysis by acidification with 1N HCl. Plasma NM and M concentrations in normal subjects were 71.8 +/- 30.7 pg/ml and 41.5 +/- 8.61 pg/ml, respectively. Plasma NM was increased in 8 and plasma M was increased in 20 of 21 patients with pheochromocytoma, although many of these overlapped with those patients with chronic renal failure (NM, 285.9 +/- 175.1 pg/ml; M, 206.3 +/- 186.7 pg/ml) and essential hypertension (NM, 107.7 +/- 90.7 pg/ml; M, 46.7 +/- 20.2 pg/ml). Urinary NM and M concentrations did not show specific diurnal variation and there was significant correlations between the values in single voided urine and those in the 24 hour urine. Urinary NM and M concentrations in normal controls were 197.5 +/- 46.7 ng/mg Cr. and 125.3 +/- 37.1 ng/mg Cr., respectively. Urinary NM concentration was increased in 14 and urinary M concentration was increased in all of 17 patients with pheochromocytoma. In addition, urinary M concentration was higher in most of the 17 patients with pheochromocytoma than that in the patients with chronic renal failure and essential hypertension. However, the values in three patients with Sipple's syndrome with a small adrenal tumor or recurrent cases overlapped with those in other diseases. Relationships between urinary concentrations of NM and/or M and tumor size showed positive correlations. Urinary NM and M concentrations showed significant decreases after surgical removal of the tumors. These results suggest that NM and/or M concentrations in single voided urine could be a sensitive and specific diagnostic tool for pheochromocytoma.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Epinephrine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Male
  • Metanephrine / blood
  • Metanephrine / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Normetanephrine / blood
  • Normetanephrine / urine*
  • Pheochromocytoma / diagnosis*
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Normetanephrine
  • Metanephrine
  • Epinephrine