Radiation therapy of metastatic pheochromocytoma: case report and review of the literature

Am J Clin Oncol. 1996 Aug;19(4):389-93. doi: 10.1097/00000421-199608000-00015.


Malignant pheochromocytomas are rare tumors, which are considered radioresistant on the basis of little information. We report a patient, with cranial nerve deficits from a pheochromocytoma metastatic to the parasellar region, who promptly responded to radiation therapy (2,500 cGy) with reversal of neurologic deficit. The disease recurred 2 years later and again promptly responded upon treatment to 2,000 cGy. Hepatic metastases were controlled for over 1 year with 3,240 cGy. The radiotherapy of pheochromocytoma and chemodectoma is reviewed, and the similarities between the two kinds of tumor are discussed. We speculate that a higher initial radiation dose might have resulted in a more sustained remission in our patient and recommend doses of 4,000-5,000 cGy if they can be safely administered, in 4-5 weeks for pheochromocytomas.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Paraganglioma, Extra-Adrenal / radiotherapy
  • Pheochromocytoma / radiotherapy*
  • Pheochromocytoma / secondary*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Remission Induction
  • Sella Turcica