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Concept: Pheochromocytoma

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Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is seen, though rarely, in anaphylaxis treated with epinephrine. Stress cardiomyopathy is most likely to occur in middle-aged women. The underlying etiology is believed to be related to catecholamine release in periods of intense stress. Catecholamines administered exogenously, and those secreted by neuroendocrine tumors (e.g., pheochromocytoma) or during anaphylaxis have been reported to cause apical ballooning syndrome, or takotsubo syndrome. However, reverse takotsubo stress cardiomyopathy is rarely seen or reported in anaphylaxis treated with epinephrine.

Concepts: Cardiomyopathy, Neuroendocrine tumor, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Cardiovascular diseases, Pheochromocytoma, Catecholamine, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy

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A phaeochromocytoma (PC) is a rare, catecholamine-secreting neuroendocrine tumour arising from the adrenal medulla. Presenting symptoms of this rare tumour are highly variable but life-threatening multiorgan dysfunction can occur secondary to catecholamine-induced hypertension or hypotension and subsequent cardiovascular collapse. High levels of circulating catecholamines can induce an acute stress cardiomyopathy, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Recent studies have focused on early diagnosis and estimation of the prevalence of acute stress cardiomyopathy in patients with PC, but very little is reported about management of these complex cases. Here, we report the case of a 38-year-old lady who presented with an acute Takotsubo or stress cardiomyopathy and catecholamine crisis, caused by an occult left-sided 5 cm PC. The initial presenting crisis manifested with symptoms of severe headache and abdominal pain, triggered by a respiratory tract infection. On admission to hospital, the patient rapidly deteriorated, developing respiratory failure, cardiogenic shock and subsequent cardiovascular collapse due to further exacerbation of the catecholamine crisis caused by a combination of opiates and intravenous corticosteroid. An echocardiogram revealed left ventricular apical hypokinesia and ballooning, with an estimated left ventricular ejection fraction of 10-15%. Herein, we outline the early stabilisation period, preoperative optimisation and intraoperative management, providing anecdotal guidance for the management of this rare life-threatening complication of PC.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Cardiology, Cardiomyopathy, Heart failure, Ejection fraction, Cardiovascular diseases, Pheochromocytoma, Adrenal medulla

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Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are neuroendocrine tumors derived from adrenal or extra-adrenal locations, respectively. Upon suspicion of PPGL, specific metabolomic, molecular, biochemical, imaging, and histopathological studies are performed to prove, localize, treat, and monitor disease progression. Recently, improved diagnostic tools allow physicians to accurately diagnose PPGL, even in patients presenting with small (less than 1 cm) or biochemically silent tumors, which previously delayed proper detection and treatment.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Molecular biology, Medical terms, Chemistry, Greek loanwords, Neuroendocrine tumor, Pheochromocytoma

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We present a rare case of malignant pheochromocytoma with thoracic metastases during pregnancy that presented with symptoms of myelopathy and was treated with circumferential decompression, stabilization, and radiation. The management of this unique case is not well documented. The clinical manifestations, imaging results, pathological characteristics, treatment and prognosis of the case were analyzed.

Concepts: Spinal cord, Cancer, Medical terms, Nocebo, Pheochromocytoma

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Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) and paragangliomas (PGLs) are neuroendocrine tumors with a strong genetic background. The mainstay of treatment for PCC/PGLs is surgery. However, for unresectable lesions, no curative treatment is currently available. Temozolomide (TMZ) has been shown to determine radiological and biochemical response in malignant PCC/PGLs. We report two cases of PCC/PGLs treated with TMZ. Case 1 is a 51-year-old man with local and distant recurrence (liver and bone metastases) of right adrenal PCC. Case 2 is a 54-year-old woman with a PCC/PGL syndrome caused by a mutation in MAX gene (c.171+1G>A), operated on for bilateral adrenal PCC and presenting with a large unresectable abdominal PGL. Both patients presented hypertension due to catecholamine hypersecretion. TMZ determined radiological response according to RECIST criteria, reduction of urinary catecholamine levels, and controlled hypertension in both patients. Furthermore, the current study demonstrates, for the first time, that MAX-related PGLs are responsive to TMZ.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Oncology, Hypertension, Neuroendocrine tumor, Epinephrine, Pheochromocytoma, Adrenal medulla

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The Grading system for Adrenal Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma (GAPP) was proposed for predicting the metastatic potential of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma to overcome the limitations of the Pheochromocytoma of the Adrenal Scaled Score (PASS). However, to date, no study validating the GAPP has been conducted, and previous studies did not include mutations in the succinate dehydrogenase type B (SDHB) gene in the score calculation. In this retrospective cohort study, we validated the prediction ability of GAPP and assessed whether it would be improved by inclusion of the loss of SDHB immunohistochemical staining.

Concepts: Cohort study, Cancer, Biology, Validation, Immunohistochemistry, Staining, Succinate dehydrogenase, Pheochromocytoma

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The measurement of urine catecholamine and metanephrine concentrations is important for biochemical screening and diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. The goal of this work was to develop a simple liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for determining catecholamines and metanephrines in urine to replace an existing liquid chromatographic method using electrochemical detection. Urine samples were prepared using Oasis weak-cation-exchange cartridges. The eluate was analyzed on an Agilent ZORBAX Eclipse Plus Phenyl-Hexyl column in 3 min. Adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, metanephrine, normetanephrine, and their deuterated internal standards were monitored in positive electrospray ionization mode by multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). No evidence of ion suppression was observed. The assay was linear up to 5μmol/L for adrenaline, 5μmol/L for noradrenaline, 6.1μmol/L for dopamine, 5.6μmol/L for metanephrine, and 34.6μmol/L for normetanephrine, with lower limits of quantification of 5, 5, 12, 6 and 7 nmol/L, respectively. The intra-day and inter-day precisions for all analytes ranged from 0.59% to 4.64% and 1.98% to 4.80%, respectively. External quality assurance samples were assayed and showed excellent agreement with the target values. This simple method provides an improved assay for determining urine catecholamines and metanephrines.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Pheochromocytoma, L-DOPA, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, Catecholamine

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Acute aortic dissection is the most common acute aortic syndrome. It is more prevalent in males and in the elderly, and has a high mortality. Hypertension is the main risk factor. Diagnosis is based on clinical features, laboratory tests and imaging exams. Treatment is usually surgical, although in some cases an endovascular approach is an alternative. Paraganglioma is an uncommon neuroendocrine tumor. Most produce catecholamines, and so usually manifest with hypertensive crisis, palpitations, headache and sweating. This tumor is diagnosed by measurement of plasma or urinary catecholamines and by computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy. Surgery is the only potentially curative treatment.

Concepts: Oncology, Hypertension, Medical statistics, Cardiology, Blood pressure, Medical imaging, Aortic dissection, Pheochromocytoma

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Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) refers to the autosomal dominant neuroendocrine tumour syndromes, MEN type 2A (MEN2A) and MEN type 2B (MEN2B). They are typified by the development of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), phaeochromocytoma and parathyroid hyperplasia in MEN2A, and MTC, phaeochromocytomas, ganglioneuromatosis and skeletal abnormalities in MEN2B. The aggressiveness of MTC is variable according to genotype, and although it is still the major cause of mortality in both conditions, prognosis has improved dramatically in those diagnosed and treated at a young age thanks to predictive genetic testing. Nevertheless, metastatic MTC, ganglioneuromatosis and a variety of other negative clinical and psychosocial impacts on quality of life and/or prognosis in MEN2 persist. In the absence at time of writing of any large scale research into quality of life specifically in MEN2, this review includes data from patient surveys and anonymised patient anecdotes from the records of the Association for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Disorders (AMEND), for whom the authors work. We recommend that these patients are cared for only in centres of expertise able to provide expert diagnosis, treatment and continuity of care, including psychological and transition support. Only in this way can the clinical advances of the last two and half decades be built upon further to ensure that the care of these complex, lifelong patients can be considered truly holistic.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Endocrinology, Thyroid, Multiple endocrine neoplasia, RET proto-oncogene, Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, Pheochromocytoma

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Pheochromocytomas (Pheos) and paragangliomas (PGLs) are neuroendocrine tumors. Approximately 30-40% of Pheos/PGLs are due to germline mutations in one of the susceptibility genes, including those encoding the succinate dehydrogenase subunits A-D (SDHA-D). Up to 2/3 of patients affected by SDHB mutated Pheo/PGL develop metastatic disease with no successful cure at present. Here, for the first time, we evaluated the effects of SDHB silencing in a three dimension (3D) culture using spheroids of a mouse Pheo cell line silenced or not (wild type/wt/control) for the SDHB subunit. We investigated the role of the microenvironment on spheroid growth and migration/invasion by co-culturing SDHB-silenced or wt spheroids with primary cancer-activated fibroblasts (CAFs). When spheroids were co-cultured with fibroblasts, SDHB-silenced cells showed a significant increase in matrigel invasion as demonstrated by the computation of the migratory areas (P < 0.001). Moreover, cells detaching from the SDHB-silenced spheroids moved collectively, unlike the cells of wt spheroids that moved individually. Additionally, SDHB-silenced spheroids developed long filamentous formations along which clusters of cells migrated far away from the spheroid, whereas these structures were not present in wt spheroids. We found that lactate, largely secreted by CAFs, plays a specific role in promoting migration only of SDHB-silenced cells. In this study, we demonstrated that SDHB silencing per se increases tumor cell migration/invasion and that microenvironment, as represented by CAFs, plays a pivotal role in enhancing collective migration/invasion in Pheo SDHB-silenced tumor cells, suggesting their role in increasing the tumor metastasizing potential.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Oncology, Benign tumor, Tumor, Neoplasm, Neuroendocrine tumor, Pheochromocytoma