Malignant pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma: 272 patients over 55 years

Oksana Hamidi, William F. Young, Nicole M. Iñiguez-Ariza, Nana Esi Kittah, Lucinda Gruber, Cristian Bancos, Shrikant Tamhane, Irina Bancos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Context: Malignant pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and paraganglioma (PGL) are rare and knowledge of the natural history is limited. Objective: We aimed to describe baseline characteristics and outcomes of patients with malignant PHEO and PGL (PPGL) and to identify predictors of shorter survival. Design: Retrospective review of patients with malignant PPGL evaluated from 1960 to 2016. Setting: Referral center. Patients: The group comprised 272 patients. Main Outcome Measures: Baseline description, survival outcomes, and predictors of shorter survival were evaluated in patients with rapidly progressive (n = 29) and indolent disease (n = 188). Results: Malignant PPGL was diagnosed at a median age of 39 years (range, 7 to 83 years), with synchronous metastases in 96 (35%) patients. In 176 (65%) patients, metastases developed at a median of 5.5 years (range, 0.3 to 53.4 years) from the initial diagnosis. Median follow-up was 8.2 years (range, 0.01 to 54.1 years). Median overall and disease-specific survivals were 24.6 and 33.7 years, respectively. Shorter survival correlated with male sex (P = 0.014), older age at the time of primary tumor (P = 0.0011), synchronous metastases (P , 0.0001), larger primary tumor size (P = 0.0039), elevated dopamine (P = 0.0195), and not undergoing primary tumor resection (P ,0.0001). There was no difference in the type of primary tumor or presence of SDHB mutation. Conclusions: The clinical course of patients with malignant PPGL is remarkably variable. Rapid disease progression is associated with male sex, older age at diagnosis, synchronous metastases, larger tumor size, elevated dopamine, and not undergoing resection of primary tumor. An individualized approach to patients with metastatic PPGL is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3296-3305
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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