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  Pheochromocytoma Support Group: Home Page


Early History of Pheochromocytoma

  • The first description of the adrenal gland dates 1563 by Eustachius in a study "Opscula anatomica". (Source) (Source 2)
  • Despite earlier recognition of the presence of adrenals and division into cortex and medulla, the precise observations of Addison appeared in 1855 that the essential role of these glands was recognized in patients who died with adrenal destruction secondary to tuberculosis.(Source)
  • Frankel first described a medullary adrenal tumour in 1886. (Source)
  • In 1912 the pathologist Ludwig Pick formulated the descriptive term pheochromocytoma. He noted the dark-brown color of the cells with contact with chrome salts takes. (This tumor is named for its colorful reaction in fixatives containing chromic acid salts).(Source 1) (Source 2) (Source 3)
  • The first surgical removal of pheochromocytoma in Europe was performed by Rouks in 1926 and by Mayo in USA in 1927. The work of the latter had great impact.(Source)
  • The Mayo Clinic received its first grant from the National Institutes of Health for support of a General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) in 1971. The roots of the Mayo Clinic GCRC can be traced back to 1919, when Dr. Russell M. Wilder was asked to join the Mayo staff to extend its facilities for bedside teaching and clinical investigation. Dr. Wilder's passion for clinical investigation would help establish the Mayo Clinic's reputation as a leader in translational research. Significant research contributions were made by Dr. Wilder and his colleagues, including original description of pheochromocytoma syndrome and demonstration that the paroxysmal hypertension was due to excess epinephrine. (Source)
  • For a long period of time the Military Medical Academy in Yugoslavia was involved in clinical diagnosis and management of adrenal tumours. (Source
  • The first description of diagnosed pheochromocytoma was by Professor Ratibor Mitshitsh. (Source
  • The first surgical removal of pheochromocytoma in the Military Medical Academy in Yugoslavia was performed by Professor Isidor Papo. (Source
  • Earliest known dictionary reference to pheochromocytoma is as follows: Pheo*chro*mo*cy*to*ma (noun) [New Latin, from International Scientific Vocabulary pheochromocyte chromaffin cell + New Latin -oma] First appeared circa 1929: A tumor that is derived from chromaffin cells, usually associated with paroxysmal or sustained hypertension
    (Source 1: Webster's Third 1961)

Important Note: The information on this page has been gathered in the hopes of building an accurate online history of the study of pheochromocytoma. There seems to be little information freely available on this subject. We plan to expand this area over time. If you have information that can be added, please notify us, and be sure to include the source of the information. We would love to hear from you.
There is so much information that needs to be shared, and we enjoy hearing from like-minded persons who are filled with enthusiasm and energy in the goal of furthering pheochromocytoma awareness.
Also, if you find errors in the current information, or otherwise any other problems, please let us know. This history has been compiled because we feel that there is a need of recognition given to those who led in the pioneering efforts to understand pheochromocytoma.