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MedGen for PubMed (Select 15967538)

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Hereditary paraganglioma-pheochromocytoma (PGL/PCC) syndromes are characterized by paragangliomas (tumors that arise from neuroendocrine tissues symmetrically distributed along the paravertebral axis from the base of the skull to the pelvis) and by pheochromocytomas (paragangliomas that are confined to the adrenal medulla). Sympathetic paragangliomas hypersecrete catecholamines; parasympathetic paragangliomas are most often nonsecretory. Extra-adrenal parasympathetic paragangliomas are located predominantly in the skull base, neck, and upper medistinum; approximately 95% of such tumors are nonsecretory. In contrast, sympathetic extra-adrenal paragangliomas are generally confined to the lower mediastinum, abdomen, and pelvis, and are typically secretory. Pheochromocytomas, which arise from the adrenal medulla, typically hypersecrete catecholamines. Symptoms of PGL/PCC result either from mass effects or catecholamine hypersecretion (e.g., sustained or paroxysmal elevations in blood pressure, headache, episodic profuse sweating, forceful palpitations, pallor, and apprehension or anxiety). The risk for malignant transformation is greater for extra-adrenal sympathetic paragangliomas than for pheochromocytomas or skull base and neck paragangliomas. [from GeneReviews]

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Neoplastic Process


Pheochromocytomas (also known as chromaffin tumors) produce, store, and secrete catecholamines. Pheochromocytomas usually originate from the adrenal medulla but may also develop from chromaffin cells in or about sympathetic ganglia. A common symptom of pheochromocytoma is hypertension owing to release of catecholamines. [from HPO]

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