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J Urol. 1999 Feb;161(2):395-8.

Management of hereditary pheochromocytoma in von Hippel-Lindau kindreds with partial adrenalectomy.

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Urologic Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Diagnostic Radiology Department, Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



In patients with von Hippel-Lindau disease multiple bilateral adrenal pheochromocytoma can develop, which has traditionally been treated with adrenalectomy. Partial adrenalectomy can preserve normal adrenal function and avoid the morbidity associated with medical adrenal replacement. We demonstrate whether adrenal function could be preserved by partial adrenalectomy in patients with von Hippel-Lindau disease.


From 1995 to 1998, 13 consecutive von Hippel-Lindau disease patients with pheochromocytoma underwent 14 partial and 6 complete unilateral adrenalectomies. Function of residual normal adrenal and recurrence of adrenal pheochromocytoma were determined at followup.


Of the patients 2 had undergone unilateral adrenalectomy and 1 had undergone complete and partial adrenalectomy previously. Following surgery residual normal adrenal tissue consisted of 1 partial adrenal in 3 patients, bilateral partial adrenal in 5, partial and complete adrenal gland in 1, 1 complete adrenal gland in 3 and no adrenal tissue in 1. Three patients with residual adrenal tissue were placed on medical adrenal replacement until adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation testing demonstrated adrenocortical function. In 2 patients 1 adrenal and 2 extra-adrenal new pheochromocytomas developed 11 and 152 months, respectively, after partial adrenalectomy. No morbidity related to pheochromocytoma was observed during followup.


Partial adrenalectomy can preserve adrenal function in patients with a hereditary form of pheochromocytoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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