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  Pheochromocytoma Support Group: News


The 2nd International Symposium on Pheochromocytoma – September 2008

The 2nd International Symposium on Pheochromocytoma was held at Queens' College in Cambridge, UK, 17th – 20th September 2008.

Co-chairs: Morris J. Brown, Ashley B. Grossman

  • Target Audience: Scientists, physicians, radiologists, pathologists, nuclear medicine physicians and other healthcare professionals (e.g., genetic counsellors, nurses) working in the fields of endocrinology, oncology, hypertension, genetics or with specific interests in basic or clinical research about catecholamine-producing tumours.

The symposium was also open to patients, their family members, and patient support group representatives.

  • Educational Objectives: Participants will learn about the latest scientific discoveries and advances in genetics, diagnosis, localisation and pathogenesis of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas, and the management and treatment of patients with these tumours.

The 1st meeting of the International Symposium on Pheochromocytoma was hosted by colleagues at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland in 2005, and was attended by scientists, clinicians of all disciplines, other healthcare professionals as well as patients and patient support group representatives. This first symposium helped create a better awareness of the need for consensus evidence-based guidelines for effective biochemical diagnosis, localization, and treatment of benign, malignant and other forms of pheochromocytoma. It was also an excellent opportunity for the exchange of information between researchers, physicians, support organizations and patients.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Dec;1148:469-78. doi: 10.1196/annals.1410.019.
Unexplained symptomatic paroxysmal hypertension in pseudopheochromocytoma: a stress response disorder?

Eisenhofer G, Sharabi Y, Pacak K.
Department of Medicine and Clinical Chemistry, University of Dresden
Dresden, Germany.


  • Among overall numbers of patients tested for pheochromocytoma, less than 2% harbor the tumor. Among the rest, there is often no satisfactory explanation for the signs and symptoms leading to suspicion of pheochromocytoma. This group includes patients with severe symptomatic paroxysmal hypertension, often referred to as pseudopheochromocytoma, a condition that can be debilitating for patients and perplexing for clinicians.
  • Similar to patients with the real tumor, patients with pseudopheochromocytoma can be misdiagnosed with panic disorder. However, pseudopheochromocytoma is characterized by an absence of panic or emotional distress preceding the onset of hypertension and symptoms of catecholamine excess. Because the clinical manifestations of pseudopheochromocytoma are similar, if not identical, to those due to excess circulating catecholamines in patients with the tumor, the most attractive explanation for the disorder is that it involves altered function of the autonomic nervous system.
  • In line with this hypothesis, recent findings suggest that enhanced adrenal release of epinephrine and exaggerated cardiovascular responsiveness to catecholamines both contribute to the paroxysmal hypertension and symptoms of catecholamine excess in pseudopheochromocytoma. From this pattern, one would predict that therapeutic interventions that inhibit adrenal secretion of epinephrine or block adrenoceptor-mediated responses to catecholamines might provide a logical approach to therapy.

PMID: 19120143 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE

Pheochromocytoma Support Board