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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Nov;98(11):E1813-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1653. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

The characterization of pheochromocytoma and its impact on overall survival in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2.

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MD, AssociateDepartment of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1400 Pressler Street Unit 1461, Houston, TX 77030.



Pheochromocytoma (PHEO) occurs in 50% of patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2). It is unknown if the presence of PHEO is associated with more aggressive medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).


To present our experience with MEN2 PHEO and evaluate whether PHEO impacts MTC overall survival in patients with RET codon 634 mutations.


We performed a retrospective chart review of MEN2 patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1960 through 2012.


The study group comprised 85 patients (group 1) with MEN2-associated PHEO. Of these, 59 patients (subgroup 1) with RET codon 634 mutations were compared to 48 patients (group 2) with RET codon 634 mutations, but without MEN2-associated PHEO.


Of 85 patients with MEN2 and PHEO, 70 had MEN2A and 15 had MEN2B. Median age at PHEO diagnosis was 32 years. The initial manifestation of MEN2 was MTC in 60% of patients, synchronous MTC and PHEO in 34%, and PHEO in 6% of patients. Of patients, 72% had bilateral PHEO, and most tumors were synchronous (82%). Subgroup analysis of MEN2 patients with and without PHEO, who were carriers of RET codon 634, the most common mutation with PHEO, showed no significant differences in the stage of MTC at initial diagnosis. The median follow-up time for patients with PHEO was 249 months and without PHEO was 67 months (P < .01). Survival analyses among RET 634 carriers did not show shorter survival for patients with PHEO. The median survival time for patients with PHEO was 499 months and without PHEO was 444 months (P < .05).


PHEO in MEN2 patients are usually bilateral and unlikely to be metastatic. Subgroup analysis of patients with RET 634 mutations with and without PHEO showed that PHEO was not associated with a more advanced stage of MTC at diagnosis or a shorter survival.

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