Should genetic testing be performed in each patient with sporadic pheochromocytoma at presentation?

Laboratoire de Biochimie Hormonologie, Métabolisme-Nutrition, Oncologie, Centre de Biologie et Pathologie, CHRU de Lille, France.
European Journal of Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.07). 12/2008; 160(2):227-31. DOI: 10.1530/EJE-08-0574
Source: PubMed


According to previous studies, around 15% of patients with an apparently sporadic pheochromocytoma and a negative family history had a hereditary disease. This high frequency together with the financial support provided to reference laboratories of molecular genetics by the French government led to a nearly systematic screening in each patient with a pheochromocytoma.
To check the efficiency of systematic genetic screening in patients with apparently sporadic pheochromocytoma, by analysing the 6 years experience of a multidisciplinary team in this field.
One hundred patients with a pheochromocytoma-only phenotype and no family history were included. Patients with extra-adrenal tumours were excluded. Prevalence of hereditary forms was determined and analyzed according to age at onset, sex. Cost of the genetic analysis was calculated.
A germline mutation in one of the five susceptibility genes (VHL, RET, SDHD, SDHC, SDHB) was identified in eight patients (8%) with an age of onset between 13 and 57 years. Among them, six had a bilateral pheochromocytoma and only two had a unilateral tumour. If the guidelines for genetic screening were age of onset less than 50 or bilateral pheochromocytoma, no patients with a hereditary tumour would be missed and a 24% cost reduction would be achieved.
According to these data, a genetic predisposition test for hereditary pheochromocytoma seems not recommended in patients with a unilateral adrenal tumour diagnosed after 50 in the absence of familial, clinical, biological or imaging features for a familial disease.

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    • "In a previous study, approximately one-fourth of patients with pheochromocytoma were found to have mutations, and some authors have suggested that genetic testing should be offered to all patients.21,22 However, Pigny, et al.22 suggested that genetic testing should be performed in patients who were diagnosed before age 20 (prevalence of hereditary forms: 33.3%) or who had a bilateral pheochromocytoma (prevalence: 75%) and should be strongly recommended in patients diagnosed prior to age 50 (cumulative prevalence: 10.4%). They did not recommend genetic testing in patients with a unilateral pheochromocytoma diagnosed after 50 years of age. "
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    ABSTRACT: We report herein 119 patients with pheochromocytoma at our institute over the last 23 years. Between 1986 and 2009, 119 patients were diagnosed with pheochromocytoma at our institute. We reviewed the medical records of these patients. Of 119 patients, 45 were male and 74 were female, and mean age was 43.83 ± 13.49 years. Forty-three patients (36.1%) were diagnosed incidentally, and 8 patients (6.7%) were found to have familial pheochromocytoma. The mean dimension of the tumors was 5.89 ± 3.18 cm. 4 patients had bilateral tumors; three of these patients were found to have familial pheochromocytoma and 1 patient was diagnosed with malignant pheochromocytoma. A total of eight patients (6.7%) were found to have malignant pheochromocytoma. In 1 patient, metastasis to a lymph node was found at the time of diagnosis. Metastases were found at a mean of 49 ± 25.83 (6-75) months after surgery in the other seven patients. 6 patients died of malignant pheochromocytoma at a mean of 31 ± 28.71 months (1-81) after diagnosis, and the other 2 patients survived for 15 and 24 months, respectively. Approximately 35% of patients with pheochromocytoma are diagnosed incidentally, and the number of detected cases is increasing. Although familial pheochromocytoma was found only in 6.7% of the patients, genetic testing should be considered in all patients, especially in patients with a family history, young age, or multifocal, bilateral, extra-adrenal, or malignant tumors. Given that malignant pheochromocytomas are frequently diagnosed during the follow-up period, long-term follow-up is necessary to confirm the absence of recurrence or metastasis.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Yonsei medical journal
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    • "While over 200 missense and nonsense mutations are listed in the SDH mutation database (Bayley et al. 2005;, only 10 distinct large deletions of the SDH genes have been described (Baysal et al. 2004, McWhinney et al. 2004, Cascon et al. 2006, 2008, Amar et al. 2007, Fish et al. 2007, Pasini et al. 2008, Pigny et al. 2009). We wished to assess the nature and frequency of deletions of the SDH genes in the Dutch paraganglioma population. "
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    ABSTRACT: A major cause of paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma is germline mutation of the tumor suppressor genes SDHB, SDHC, and SDHD, encoding subunits of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH). While many SDH missense/nonsense mutations have been identified, few large deletions have been described. We performed multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification deletion analysis in 126 point mutation-negative patients, and here we describe four novel deletions of SDHD and SDHC. Long-range PCR was used for the fine mapping of deletions. One patient had a 10 kb AluSg-AluSx-mediated deletion including SDHD exons 1 and 2, the entire TIMM8B gene, and deletion of exons of C11orf57. A second patient had a deletion of SDHD exons 1 and 2 and exon 1 of the TIMM8B gene. A third patient showed a deletion of exon 2 of SDHD, together with a 235 bp MIRb-Tensin gene insertion. In a fourth patient, a deletion of exons 5 and 6 of the SDHC gene was found, only the second SDHC deletion currently known. The deletions of the TIMM8B and C11orf57 genes are the first to be described, but do not appear to result in an additional phenotype in these patients. Four of the eight breakpoints occurred in Alu sequences and all three SDHD deletions showed an intron 2 breakpoint. This study underlines the fact that clinically relevant deletions may encompass neighboring genes, with the potential to modify phenotype. Gene deletions of SDHD and SDHC represent a substantial proportion of all mutations, and must be considered in paraganglioma patients shown to be negative for mutations by sequencing.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Endocrine Related Cancer
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    • "This patient showed a large deletion affecting SDHB, but as no tumor material was available, the relation of SDHB to the GIST could not be demonstrated [18]. Pigny et al. have reported a deletion of SDHB exons 7 & 8 in a patient with bilateral pheochromocytoma [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Germline mutations of the tumor suppressor genes SDHB, SDHC and SDHD play a major role in hereditary paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma. These three genes encode subunits of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle enzyme and complex II component of the electron transport chain. The majority of variants of the SDH genes are missense and nonsense mutations. To date few large deletions of the SDH genes have been described. We carried out gene deletion scanning using MLPA in 126 patients negative for point mutations in the SDH genes. We then proceeded to the molecular characterization of deletions, mapping breakpoints in each patient and used haplotype analysis to determine whether the deletions are due to a mutation hotspot or if a common haplotype indicated a single founder mutation. A novel deletion of exon 3 of the SDHB gene was identified in nine apparently unrelated Dutch patients. An identical 7905 bp deletion, c.201-4429_287-933del, was found in all patients, resulting in a frameshift and a predicted truncated protein, p.Cys68HisfsX21. Haplotype analysis demonstrated a common haplotype at the SDHB locus. Index patients presented with pheochromocytoma, extra-adrenal PGL and HN-PGL. A lack of family history was seen in seven of the nine cases. The identical exon 3 deletions and common haplotype in nine patients indicates that this mutation is the first Dutch SDHB founder mutation. The predominantly non-familial presentation of these patients strongly suggests reduced penetrance. In this small series HN-PGL occurs as frequently as pheochromocytoma and extra-adrenal PGL.
    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · BMC Medical Genetics
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