Biopsy of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas: potential for disaster.
ABSTRACT Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are highly vascular neuroendocrine neoplasms that often secrete catecholamines. Percutaneous biopsy has been associated with life-threatening hemorrhage, hypertensive crisis, capsular disruption with tumor implantation, and death. We sought to determine the outcomes of biopsy in 20 consecutive patients.
We reviewed retrospectively the medical records of patients with biopsied pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas referred to our Endocrine Division for subsequent management between 1995 and 2005. Biopsy complications, operative findings, and outcomes were reviewed.
Twenty patients (14 pheochromocytomas and 6 paragangliomas) were biopsied percutaneously prior to referral. Mean tumor diameter was 6.4 cm (range, 1-15). Pre-biopsy biochemical testing was not performed in 90% of patients, and was negative in the remainder. Fourteen patients (70%) developed a biopsy-related complication, including: increased difficulty of the definitive operation in 7 of 17 (41%) operative cases with 1 patient requiring conversion to an open procedure; severe hypertension (15%); hematoma (30%); incorrect or inadequate biopsy (25%); severe pain (25%); and delay in surgical treatment (15%). Mean follow-up was 58 months, with 4 tumor-related deaths and 2 recurrences.
Biochemical testing prior to biopsy of adrenal or suspicious retroperitoneal masses is critical to exclude a catecholamine-secreting neoplasm because serious complications and increased operative difficulty can result.
- SourceAvailable from: jcem.endojournals.org[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Measurements of plasma normetanephrine and metanephrine provide a highly sensitive test for diagnosis of pheochromocytoma, but false-positive results remain a problem. We therefore assessed medication-associated false-positive results and use of supplementary tests, including plasma normetanephrine responses to clonidine, to distinguish true- from false-positive results. The study included 208 patients with pheochromocytoma and 648 patients in whom pheochromocytoma was excluded. Clonidine-suppression tests were carried out in 48 patients with and 49 patients without the tumor. Tricyclic antidepressants and phenoxybenzamine accounted for 41% of false-positive elevations of plasma normetanephrine and 44-45% those of plasma and urinary norepinephrine. High plasma normetanephrine to norepinephrine or metanephrine to epinephrine ratios were strongly predictive of pheochromocytoma. Lack of decrease and elevated plasma levels of norepinephrine or normetanephrine after clonidine also confirmed pheochromocytoma with high specificity. However, 16 of 48 patients with pheochromocytoma had normal levels or decreases of norepinephrine after clonidine. In contrast, plasma normetanephrine remained elevated in all but 2 patients, indicating more reliable diagnosis using normetanephrine than norepinephrine responses to clonidine. Thus, in patients with suspected pheochromocytoma and positive biochemical results, false-positive elevations due to medications should first be eliminated. Patterns of biochemical test results and responses of plasma normetanephrine to clonidine can then help distinguish true- from false-positive results.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 07/2003; 88(6):2656-66. · 6.43 Impact Factor
- Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology 01/2003; 32(1):3-10.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Diagnosis of pheochromocytoma depends on biochemical evidence of catecholamine production by the tumor. However, the best test to establish the diagnosis has not been determined. To determine the biochemical test or combination of tests that provides the best method for diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. Multicenter cohort study of patients tested for pheochromocytoma at 4 referral centers between 1994 and 2001. The analysis included 214 patients in whom the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma was confirmed and 644 patients who were determined to not have the tumor. Test sensitivity and specificity, receiver operating characteristic curves, and positive and negative predictive values at different pretest prevalences using plasma free metanephrines, plasma catecholamines, urinary catecholamines, urinary total and fractionated metanephrines, and urinary vanillylmandelic acid. Sensitivities of plasma free metanephrines (99% [95% confidence interval [CI], 96%-100%]) and urinary fractionated metanephrines (97% [95% CI, 92%-99%]) were higher than those for plasma catecholamines (84% [95% CI, 78%-89%]), urinary catecholamines (86% [95% CI, 80%-91%]), urinary total metanephrines (77% [95% CI, 68%-85%]), and urinary vanillylmandelic acid (64% [95% CI, 55%-71%]). Specificity was highest for urinary vanillylmandelic acid (95% [95% CI, 93%-97%]) and urinary total metanephrines (93% [95% CI, 89%-97%]); intermediate for plasma free metanephrines (89% [95% CI, 87%-92%]), urinary catecholamines (88% [95% CI, 85%-91%]), and plasma catecholamines (81% [95% CI, 78%-84%]); and lowest for urinary fractionated metanephrines (69% [95% CI, 64%-72%]). Sensitivity and specificity values at different upper reference limits were highest for plasma free metanephrines using receiver operating characteristic curves. Combining different tests did not improve the diagnostic yield beyond that of a single test of plasma free metanephrines. Plasma free metanephrines provide the best test for excluding or confirming pheochromocytoma and should be the test of first choice for diagnosis of the tumor.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 04/2002; 287(11):1427-34. · 29.98 Impact Factor