Disease at a Glance

Summary
Hereditary paraganglioma-pheochromocytoma (PGL/PCC) syndromes are characterized by paragangliomas (tumors that arise from neuroendocrine tissues distributed along the paravertebral axis from the base of the skull to the pelvis) and pheochromocytomas (paragangliomas that are confined to the adrenal medulla). Sympathetic paragangliomas cause catecholamine excess; parasympathetic paragangliomas are most often nonsecretory. Extra-adrenal parasympathetic paragangliomas are located predominantly in the skull base and neck (referred to as head and neck PGL [HNPGL]) and sometimes in the upper mediastinum; approximately 95% of such tumors are nonsecretory. In contrast, sympathetic extra-adrenal paragangliomas are generally confined to the lower mediastinum, abdomen, and pelvis, and are typically secretory. Pheochromocytomas, which arise from the adrenal medulla, typically lead to catecholamine excess. Symptoms of PGL/PCC result from either mass effects or catecholamine hypersecretion (e.g., sustained or paroxysmal elevations in blood pressure, headache, episodic profuse sweating, forceful palpitations, pallor, and apprehension or anxiety). The risk for developing metastatic disease is greater for extra-adrenal sympathetic paragangliomas than for pheochromocytomas.
Estimated Number of People with this Disease

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What Information Does GARD Have For This Disease?

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Categories
When do symptoms of this disease begin?
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Symptoms

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Causes

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Last Updated: Nov. 8, 2021