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Familial pheochromocytoma

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  • Medicine


Abstract During a 15-year period, 24 patients were treated operatively for pheochromocytoma at this medical center. In this group a father and three daughters were recognized to have the familial variety of this disease. Malignant hypertension, which began at an early age, was the most prominent characteristic. Operative treatment of the three sisters occurred at the ages of 9, 15, and 17 years. All pheochromocytomas were bilateral and were confined to the adrenal glands except for hepatic extension in the father. In contrast to most recent reports of familial pheochromocytoma, there was no evidence of multiple endocrine adenomatosis in this family. Total adrenalectomy was performed in only the youngest patient and, although normotensive, she requires close observation and steroid replacement. Three patients underwent a controversial partial adrenalectomy after excision of bilateral tumors. The father has remained hypertensive for 8 years and has evidence of a residual tumor in the liver. The two daughters who have had subtotal adrenalectomies remain normotensive, require no medication, and have normal urine catecholamine values 7 and 3 years after operation. These results show that removal of bilateral pheochromocytomas without total adrenalectomy may allow normal adrenal function free of recurrence for several years in patients without multiple endocrine adenomatosis.

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