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Horm Metab Res. 2005 Jun;37(6):391-5.

Adrenal pheochromocytoma with contralateral cortisol-producing adrenal adenoma: diagnostic and therapeutic management.

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Department of General and Visceral Surgery, University Hospital, Moorenstrasse 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


There is evidence for a close interrelation between the adrenomedullary and adrenocortical tissues, and there are well-characterized models of their paracrine interaction. To contribute to the studies of systemic interactions between these tissues, we studied a 52-year-old female patient with a pheochromocytoma and a contralateral cortisol-producing adenoma. Due to a misunderstanding, she presented to her family doctor to have an inherited kidney disease ruled out. An adrenal mass was discovered incidentally by ultrasound. A computerized tomography of the abdomen revealed bilateral adrenal masses. Due to excess catecholamine secretion, bilateral pheochromocytomas based on multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome were suspected. Laboratory work-up, selective adrenal venous sampling and magnetic resonance imaging studies established the diagnosis of a pheochromocytoma in the right-hand adrenal gland and a cortisol-producing adenoma on the left. Simultaneous bilateral laparoscopic subtotal adrenalectomy was performed. Immunohistochemistry showed positive staining against chromogranin A in a histological specimen obtained from the right-hand adrenal gland, while the left was negative; the left-hand adrenal gland stained positive against the ACTH receptor (MC2R) while the right was negative. Genetically, the patient was negative for MEN2, von Hippel-Lindau disease, and mutations in subunits B, C, and D of the succinate dehydrogenase gene. Although presence of bilateral adrenal adenomas or bilateral adrenal pheochromocytomas in certain inherited disorders are possible, this rare case of an adrenal pheochromocytoma combined with a contralateral cortisol-producing adrenal adenoma may further underline the wide range of complex interactions between the two endocrine systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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