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Pheochromocytoma

Tumor that forms in the center of the adrenal gland (gland located above the kidney) that causes it to make too much adrenaline. Pheochromocytomas are usually benign (not cancer).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Pheochromocytoma

Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma are rare tumors that come from the same type of tissue.

Paragangliomas form in nerve tissue in the adrenal glands and near certain blood vessels and nerves. Paragangliomas that form in the adrenal glands are called pheochromocytomas. Paragangliomas that form outside the adrenal glands are called extra-adrenal paragangliomas. In this summary, extra-adrenal paragangliomas are called paragangliomas.

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor that forms in the adrenal medulla (the center of the adrenal gland).

Pheochromocytoma forms in the adrenal glands. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney in the back of the upper abdomen. Each adrenal gland has two parts. The outer layer of the adrenal gland is the adrenal cortex. The center of the adrenal gland is the adrenal medulla... Read more about Pheochromocytoma

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, vincristine and dacarbazine for malignant paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma: systematic review and meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, vincristine and dacarbazine (CVD) can be used for palliative treatment of malignant pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. However, the precise effect of this chemotherapeutic regimen on tumour volume is unclear. The main objective of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the effect of chemotherapy with CVD on tumour volume in patients with malignant paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma.

123I-meta-iodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy for the detection of neuroblastoma and pheochromocytoma: results of a meta-analysis

CONTEXT: (123)I-mIBG scintigraphy has been in clinical use for more than 20 yr for diagnostic assessment of patients with neural crest and neuroendocrine tumors. Prospective validation of the performance characteristics of this method has recently been published.

I-MIBG therapy for malignant paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma: systematic review and meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: (131)I-MIBG therapy can be used for palliative treatment of malignant paraganglioma and phaeochromocytoma. The main objective of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the effect of (131)I-MIBG therapy on tumour volume in patients with malignant paraganglioma/phaeochromocytoma.

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Summaries for consumers

Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma.

Nausea and Vomiting (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about nausea and vomiting as complications of cancer or its treatment. Approaches to the management of nausea and vomiting are discussed.

Hot Flashes and Night Sweats (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about causes and treatment of hot flashes and night sweats in cancer patients.

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Terms to know

Adrenal Glands
A gland located on each kidney that secretes hormones regulating metabolism, sexual function, water balance, and stress.
Adrenal Medulla
The inner part of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney). The adrenal medulla makes chemicals such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) which are involved in sending nerve signals.
Adrenaline Hormone
A hormone and neurotransmitter. Also called epinephrine.
Benign
A process that is mild in nature and not dangerous to health. Not cancerous.
Hormones
A messenger molecule that helps coordinate the actions of various tissues; made in one part of the body and transported, via the bloodstream, to tissues and organs elsewhere in the body.
Kidney
One of a pair of organs in the abdomen. The kidneys remove waste and extra water from the blood (as urine) and help keep chemicals (such as sodium, potassium, and calcium) balanced in the body. The kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and stimulate bone marrow to make red blood cells.
Malignant
Cancerous. Malignant cells can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
Neoplasm (Tumor)
An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called tumor.

More about Pheochromocytoma

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Chromaffin tumour, Phaeochromocytoma, Adrenal medullary paraganglioma, Chromaffinoma, Chromaffin paraganglioma, Chromaffin tumor, PCC

Other terms to know: See all 8
Adrenal Glands, Adrenal Medulla, Adrenaline Hormone

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