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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Dec 1;23(34):8812-8.

Genetic testing in pheochromocytoma or functional paraganglioma.

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Université Paris-Descartes, Faculté de Médecine, France.



To assess the yield and the clinical value of systematic screening of susceptibility genes for patients with pheochromocytoma (pheo) or functional paraganglioma (pgl).


We studied 314 patients with a pheo or a functional pgl, including 56 patients having a family history and/or a syndromic presentation and 258 patients having an apparently sporadic presentation. Clinical data and blood samples were collected, and all five major pheo-pgl susceptibility genes (RET, VHL, SDHB, SDHD, and SDHC) were screened. Neurofibromatosis type 1 was diagnosed from phenotypic criteria.


We have identified 86 patients (27.4%) with a hereditary tumor. Among the 56 patients with a family/syndromic presentation, 13 have had neurofibromatosis type 1, and germline mutations on the VHL, RET, SDHD, and SDHB genes were present in 16, 15, nine, and three patients, respectively. Among the 258 patients with an apparently sporadic presentation, 30 (11.6%) had a germline mutation (18 patients on SDHB, nine patients on VHL, two patients on SDHD, and one patient on RET). Mutation carriers were younger and more frequently had bilateral or extra-adrenal tumors. In patients with an SDHB mutation, the tumors were larger, more frequently extra-adrenal, and malignant.


Genetic testing oriented by family/sporadic presentation should be proposed to all patients with pheo or functional pgl. We suggest an algorithm that would allow the confirmation of suspected inherited disease as well as the diagnosis of unexpected inherited disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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