There are no current guidelines for the management of familial pheochromocytoma (FP). We tried to determine the optimal management of patients with FP. Among 191 patients with pheochromocytoma who underwent surgical resection between 1979 and 2010, there were 18 FP (13 different kindreds; 11 females/7 males; mean age at initial operation: 38.7 years). The 18 FP cases comprised 10 with MEN2A, 2 with MEN2B, 4 with von Hippel-Lindau disease, and 2 with FP only, and all pheochromocytomas were of adrenal origin. The number of probands and family members was 9 and 9 respectively. Mean tumor size was 6.4 cm in diameter. Simultaneous bilateral adrenalectomy was performed in 6 patients, and unilateral adrenalectomy was performed as the initial surgery in 12 patients. A metachronous contralateral adrenalectomy was performed in 3 patients, 90, 236 and 312 months after the primary operation, respectively. None of the patients received partial adrenalectomy. Among another 9 patients with unilateral adrenalectomy, contralateral pheochromocytomas were suspected in 4 cases at the initial operation. However, none of these contralateral lesions developed severe symptoms or tumor enlargement during a median follow-up of 116 months. In the remaining 5 patients, pheochromocytoma did not develop in the contralateral adrenals over a median follow-up of 80.5 months. Bilateral lesions of adrenal pheochromocytoma in familial cases occurred in 78% of cases (14/18); 9 patients (including 4 with contralateral pheochromocytoma) did not require a contralateral adrenalectomy during a median follow-up of 119 months. No patients have suffered from Addisonian crisis. The ipsilateral adrenalectomy and follow-up of contralateral small pheochromocytoma is one of the management options to preserve adrenocortical function in FP patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging