Special Issue "Pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and Paraganglioma (PGL)"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Karel Pacak
Website
Guest Editor
Senior Investigator, Chief, Section on Medical Neuroendocrinology, Head, Developmental Endocrine Oncology and Genetics Affinity Group. Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD, NIH, Building 10, CRC, Room 1E-3140, 10 Center Drive MSC-1109, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Interests: genetics; biochemistry; metabolomics; neuroendocrine tumors; paragangliomas; pheochromocytomas; oncotherapy
Prof. David Taïeb
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nuclear Medicine, La Timone University Hospital, European Center for Research in Medical Imaging, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France
Interests: nuclear imaging; theranostics; neuroendocrine tumors; paragangliomas; pheochromocytomas; modeling; metabolomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (collectively termed PPGLs), are rare neuroendocrine tumors originating from chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla or paraganglia outside the adrenal medulla, respectively. Uniquely, these tumors secrete catecholamines, mainly norepinephrine and epinephrine, that profoundly affect cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and to lesser extents, other systems. Thus, if these tumors remain unrecognized, they pose a severe threat to a patient by potentially causing sudden death due to lethal arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Therefore, all attempts should be made to diagnose and treat these tumors early, before they strike a patient or become metastatic.

Recently, there has been significant progress in the genetics of these tumors. New genes—HIF2A, H-RAS, FH, MDH2, EGLN2, IRP1, DNMT3A, MERTK, MET, and H3F3A—have been discovered, although all are found much less frequently (altogether in about 10% of these tumors) than other previously described pheochromocytoma susceptibility genes (e.g. RET, NF1, VHL, SDHA/B/C/D). About two years ago, we classified these tumors into two main clusters/subtypes (hypoxia and kinase signaling), and now, thanks to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) initiative, we have added two additional clusters/subtypes (wnt signaling and cortical admixture), further reflecting a more precise genetic classification and enabling us to potentially better predict clinical behavior. TCGA initiative also concluded that 69% of PPGLs had driver alterations, which were either germline or somatic mutations or somatic gene fusions, the latter described for the first time. These and other findings facilitated new comprehensive efforts to accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis of metastatic PPGLs through the application of state-of-the art genome analysis technologies tightly linked to the most updated bioinformatics tools. Very recently, metabolomic profiles were also introduced for the diagnostic evaluation of these tumors and for the indentification of new genes. For example, magnetic resonance spectroscopy now provides the opportunity to characterize these tumors from a whole body perspective and could potentially help monitor oncometabolites during therapies and follow-up.

Multimodality–multiparametric imaging has emerged at the forefront of personalized medicine. The use of molecular imaging, particularly positron emission tomography compounds, in the localization of these tumors has been successfully expanded. Specifically, [68Ga]-DOTATATE PET/CT has become the best available imaging modality for metastatic and head and neck PPGLs with FDA approval in 2018. These results prompted the introduction of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy using radiolabeled somatostatin analogues (both agonists and antagonists, 177Lu-DOTATATE /Lutathera/ and 177Lu-DOTA-JR11, respectively) for these tumors. It is also expected that the use of alpha-particle emitters be transferred to PPGL patients soon.

This series of articles is presented by an international team of experts in these tumors who enriched every part of this series. Without their dedication, deep knowledge and understanding of these tumors, participation in international studies and projects, and commitment to future work, this would not be possible. This collaborative effort reflects the scope and spirit of these issues, nicely blending current and future genetic, diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive approaches to PPGLs. And although therapeutic and preventive options for PPGLs, especially metastatic disease, are still in their infancy, several new studies are now in progress or planned. Personalized treatment and care of patients with PPGLs, including the use of predictive biomarkers for the presence of these tumors or their metastatic spread, manipulation of the immune system to fight these tumors, understanding host and environmental factors, and the use of artificial intelligence to classify information will become a reality in the near future, with the potential to transform the lives of patients with these tumors. 

Let us conclude with a quotation from Dr. William Mayo : « The glory of medicine is that it is constantly moving forward, that there is always more to learn. »

Prof. Karel Pacak
Prof. David Taïeb
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (24 papers)

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Open AccessEditorial
Pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and Paraganglioma (PGL)
Cancers 2019, 11(9), 1391; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11091391 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This series of 23 articles (17 original articles, six reviews) is presented by international leaders in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Favorable Outcome in Patients with Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Treated with 177Lu-DOTATATE
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11070909 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Peptide receptor radiotherapy (PRRT) with 177Lu-DOTATATE has emerged as a promising therapy for neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). This retrospective cohort study aimed to assess the outcome of PRRT for 22 patients with histopathologically confirmed pheochromocytoma (PCC) and paraganglioma (PGL), of which two were [...] Read more.
Peptide receptor radiotherapy (PRRT) with 177Lu-DOTATATE has emerged as a promising therapy for neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). This retrospective cohort study aimed to assess the outcome of PRRT for 22 patients with histopathologically confirmed pheochromocytoma (PCC) and paraganglioma (PGL), of which two were localized and 20 metastatic. Radiological response utilized response evaluation criteria in solid tumors 1.1 and toxicity was graded according to common terminology criteria for adverse events version 4. Median 4 (range 3–11) 7.4 GBq cycles of 177Lu-DOTATATE were administered as first-line therapy (n = 13) or because of progressive disease (n = 9). Partial response (PR) was achieved in two and stable disease (SD) in 20 patients. The median overall survival (OS) was 49.6 (range 8.2–139) months and median progression-free survival (PFS) was 21.6 (range 6.7–138) months. Scintigraphic response >50% was achieved in 9/19 (47%) patients. Biochemical response (>50% decrease) of chromogranin A was found in 6/15 (40%) patients and of catecholamines in 3/12 (25%) patients. Subgroup analysis showed Ki-67 <15% associated with longer OS (p = 0.013) and PFS (p = 0.005). PRRT as first-line therapy was associated with increased OS (p = 0.041). No hematological or kidney toxicity grade 3–4 was registered. 177Lu-DOTATATE therapy was associated with favorable outcome and low toxicity. High Ki-67 (≥15%) and PRRT received because of progression on previous therapy could constitute negative predictive factors for OS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
11C-hydroxy-ephedrine-PET/CT in the Diagnosis of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 847; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060847 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Pheochromocytomas (PCC) and paragangliomas (PGL) may be difficult to diagnose because of vague and uncharacteristic symptoms and equivocal biochemical and radiological findings. This was a retrospective cohort study in 102 patients undergoing 11C-hydroxy-ephedrine (11C-HED)-PET/CT because of symptoms and/or biochemistry suspicious [...] Read more.
Pheochromocytomas (PCC) and paragangliomas (PGL) may be difficult to diagnose because of vague and uncharacteristic symptoms and equivocal biochemical and radiological findings. This was a retrospective cohort study in 102 patients undergoing 11C-hydroxy-ephedrine (11C-HED)-PET/CT because of symptoms and/or biochemistry suspicious for PCC/PGL and/or with radiologically equivocal adrenal incidentalomas. Correlations utilized CT/MRI, clinical, biochemical, surgical, histopathological and follow-up data. 11C-HED-PET/CT correctly identified 19 patients with PCC and six with PGL, missed one PCC, attained one false positive result (nodular hyperplasia) and correctly excluded PCC/PGL in 75 patients. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of 11C-HED-PET/CT for PCC/PGL diagnosis was 96%, 99%, 96% and 99%, respectively. In 41 patients who underwent surgical resection and for whom correlation to histopathology was available, the corresponding figures were 96%, 93%, 96% and 93%, respectively. Tumor 11C-HED-uptake measurements (standardized uptake value, tumor-to-normal-adrenal ratio) were unrelated to symptoms of catecholamine excess (p > 0.05) and to systolic blood pressure (p > 0.05). In PCC/PGL patients, norepinephrine and systolic blood pressure increased in parallel (R2 = 0.22, p = 0.016). 11C-HED-PET/CT was found to be an accurate tool to diagnose and rule out PCC/PGL in complex clinical scenarios and for the characterization of equivocal adrenal incidentalomas. PET measurements of tumor 11C-HED uptake were not helpful for tumor characterization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimizing Genetic Workup in Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma by Integrating Diagnostic and Research Approaches
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 809; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060809 - 11 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) are rare neuroendocrine tumors with a strong hereditary background and a large genetic heterogeneity. Identification of the underlying genetic cause is crucial for the management of patients and their families as it aids differentiation between hereditary and sporadic cases. [...] Read more.
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) are rare neuroendocrine tumors with a strong hereditary background and a large genetic heterogeneity. Identification of the underlying genetic cause is crucial for the management of patients and their families as it aids differentiation between hereditary and sporadic cases. To improve diagnostics and clinical management we tailored an enrichment based comprehensive multi-gene next generation sequencing panel applicable to both analyses of tumor tissue and blood samples. We applied this panel to tumor samples and compared its performance to our current routine diagnostic approach. Routine diagnostic sequencing of 11 PPGL susceptibility genes was applied to blood samples of 65 unselected PPGL patients at a single center in Dresden, Germany. Predisposing germline mutations were identified in 19 (29.2%) patients. Analyses of 28 PPGL tumor tissues using the dedicated PPGL panel revealed pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in known PPGL susceptibility genes in 21 (75%) cases, including mutations in IDH2, ATRX and HRAS. These mutations suggest sporadic tumor development. Our results imply a diagnostic benefit from extended molecular tumor testing of PPGLs and consequent improvement of patient management. The approach is promising for determination of prognostic biomarkers that support therapeutic decision-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Targeting Cyclooxygenase-2 in Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma: Focus on Genetic Background
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 743; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060743 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) is a key enzyme of the tumorigenesis-inflammation interface and can be induced by hypoxia. A pseudohypoxic transcriptional signature characterizes pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) of the cluster I, mainly represented by tumors with mutations in von Hippel–Lindau (VHL), endothelial [...] Read more.
Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) is a key enzyme of the tumorigenesis-inflammation interface and can be induced by hypoxia. A pseudohypoxic transcriptional signature characterizes pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) of the cluster I, mainly represented by tumors with mutations in von Hippel–Lindau (VHL), endothelial PAS domain-containing protein 1 (EPAS1), or succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) subunit genes. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible association between underlying tumor driver mutations and COX-2 in PPGLs. COX-2 gene expression and immunoreactivity were examined in clinical specimens with documented mutations, as well as in spheroids and allografts derived from mouse pheochromocytoma (MPC) cells. COX-2 in vivo imaging was performed in allograft mice. We observed significantly higher COX-2 expression in cluster I, especially in VHL-mutant PPGLs, however, no specific association between COX-2 mRNA levels and a hypoxia-related transcriptional signature was found. COX-2 immunoreactivity was present in about 60% of clinical specimens as well as in MPC spheroids and allografts. A selective COX-2 tracer specifically accumulated in MPC allografts. This study demonstrates that, although pseudohypoxia is not the major determinant for high COX-2 levels in PPGLs, COX-2 is a relevant molecular target. This potentially allows for employing selective COX-2 inhibitors as targeted chemotherapeutic agents and radiosensitizers. Moreover, available models are suitable for preclinical testing of these treatments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Transgenic Mouse Model of Pacak–Zhuang Syndrome with An Epas1 Gain-of-Function Mutation
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050667 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
We previously identified a novel syndrome in patients characterized by paraganglioma, somatostatinoma, and polycythemia. In these patients, polycythemia occurs long before any tumor develops, and tumor removal only partially corrects polycythemia, with recurrence occurring shortly after surgery. Genetic mosaicism of gain-of-function mutations of [...] Read more.
We previously identified a novel syndrome in patients characterized by paraganglioma, somatostatinoma, and polycythemia. In these patients, polycythemia occurs long before any tumor develops, and tumor removal only partially corrects polycythemia, with recurrence occurring shortly after surgery. Genetic mosaicism of gain-of-function mutations of the EPAS1 gene (encoding HIF2α) located in the oxygen degradation domain (ODD), typically p.530–532, was shown as the etiology of this syndrome. The aim of the present investigation was to demonstrate that these mutations are necessary and sufficient for the development of the symptoms. We developed transgenic mice with a gain-of-function Epas1A529V mutation (corresponding to human EPAS1A530V), which demonstrated elevated levels of erythropoietin and polycythemia, a decreased urinary metanephrine-to-normetanephrine ratio, and increased expression of somatostatin in the ampullary region of duodenum. Further, inhibition of HIF2α with its specific inhibitor PT2385 significantly reduced erythropoietin levels in the mutant mice. However, polycythemia persisted after PT2385 treatment, suggesting an alternative erythropoietin-independent mechanism of polycythemia. These findings demonstrate the vital roles of EPAS1 mutations in the syndrome development and the great potential of the Epas1A529V animal model for further pathogenesis and therapeutics studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Short-term Blood Pressure Variability in Pheochromocytoma/Paraganglioma Patients
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050658 - 12 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Data on short-term blood pressure variability (BPV), which is a well-established cardiovascular prognostic tool, in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) patients is still lack and conflicting. We retrospectively evaluated 23 PPGL patients referred to our unit from 2010 to 2019 to analyze 24 h [...] Read more.
Data on short-term blood pressure variability (BPV), which is a well-established cardiovascular prognostic tool, in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) patients is still lack and conflicting. We retrospectively evaluated 23 PPGL patients referred to our unit from 2010 to 2019 to analyze 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (24-h ABPM)-derived markers of short-term BPV, before and after surgical treatment. PPGL diagnosis was assessed according to guidelines and confirmed by histologic examination. The 24-h ABPM-derived markers of short-term BPV included: circadian pressure rhythm; standard deviation (SD) and weighted SD (wSD) of 24-h, daytime, and night-time systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP); average real variability (ARV) of 24-h, daytime, and night-time systolic and diastolic BP. 7 males and 16 females of 53 ± 18 years old were evaluated. After surgical resection of PPGL we found a significant decrease in 24-h systolic BP ARV (8.8 ± 1.6 vs. 7.6 ± 1.3 mmHg, p < 0.001), in 24-h diastolic BP ARV (7.5 ± 1.6 vs. 6.9 ± 1.4 mmHg, p = 0.031), and in wSD of 24-h diastolic BP (9.7 ± 2.0 vs 8.8 ± 2.1 mmHg, p = 0.050) comparing to baseline measurements. Moreover, baseline 24-h urinary metanephrines significantly correlated with wSD of both 24-h systolic and diastolic BP. Our study highlights as PPGL patients, after proper treatment, show a significant decrease in some short-term BPV markers, which might represent a further cardiovascular risk factor. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Significant Reduction or Complete Eradication of Subcutaneous and Metastatic Lesions in a Pheochromocytoma Mouse Model after Immunotherapy Using Mannan-BAM, TLR Ligands, and Anti-CD40
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050654 - 11 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Therapeutic options for metastatic pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PHEO/PGL) are limited. Here, we tested an immunotherapeutic approach based on intratumoral injections of mannan-BAM with toll-like receptor ligands into subcutaneous PHEO in a mouse model. This therapy elicited a strong innate immunity-mediated antitumor response and resulted in [...] Read more.
Therapeutic options for metastatic pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PHEO/PGL) are limited. Here, we tested an immunotherapeutic approach based on intratumoral injections of mannan-BAM with toll-like receptor ligands into subcutaneous PHEO in a mouse model. This therapy elicited a strong innate immunity-mediated antitumor response and resulted in a significantly lower PHEO volume compared to the phosphate buffered saline (PBS)-treated group and in a significant improvement in mice survival. The cytotoxic effect of neutrophils, as innate immune cells predominantly infiltrating treated tumors, was verified in vitro. Moreover, the combination of mannan-BAM and toll-like receptor ligands with agonistic anti-CD40 was associated with increased mice survival. Subsequent tumor re-challenge also supported adaptive immunity activation, reflected primarily by long-term tumor-specific memory. These results were further verified in metastatic PHEO, where the intratumoral injections of mannan-BAM, toll-like receptor ligands, and anti-CD40 into subcutaneous tumors resulted in significantly less intense bioluminescence signals of liver metastatic lesions induced by tail vein injection compared to the PBS-treated group. Subsequent experiments focusing on the depletion of T cell subpopulations confirmed the crucial role of CD8+ T cells in inhibition of bioluminescence signal intensity of liver metastatic lesions. These data call for a new therapeutic approach in patients with metastatic PHEO/PGL using immunotherapy that initially activates innate immunity followed by an adaptive immune response. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Alterations in Dog Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050607 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Recently, genetic alterations in the genes encoding succinate dehydrogenase subunit B and D (SDHB and SDHD) were identified in pet dogs that presented with spontaneously arising pheochromocytomas (PCC) and paragangliomas (PGL; together PPGL), suggesting dogs might be an interesting comparative model [...] Read more.
Recently, genetic alterations in the genes encoding succinate dehydrogenase subunit B and D (SDHB and SDHD) were identified in pet dogs that presented with spontaneously arising pheochromocytomas (PCC) and paragangliomas (PGL; together PPGL), suggesting dogs might be an interesting comparative model for the study of human PPGL. To study whether canine PPGL resembled human PPGL, we investigated a series of 50 canine PPGLs by immunohistochemistry to determine the expression of synaptophysin (SYP), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and succinate dehydrogenase subunit A (SDHA) and B (SDHB). In parallel, 25 canine PPGLs were screened for mutations in SDHB and SDHD by Sanger sequencing. To detect large chromosomal alterations, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays were performed for 11 PPGLs, including cases for which fresh frozen tissue was available. The immunohistochemical markers stained positive in the majority of canine PPGLs. Genetic screening of the canine tumors revealed the previously described variants in four cases; SDHB p.Arg38Gln (n = 1) and SDHD p.Lys122Arg (n = 3). Furthermore, the SNP arrays revealed large chromosomal alterations of which the loss of chromosome 5, partly homologous to human chromosome 1p and chromosome 11, was the most frequent finding (100% of the six cases with chromosomal alterations). In conclusion, canine and human PPGLs show similar genomic alterations, suggestive of common interspecies PPGL-related pathways. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Impact of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Hypoxia on Catecholamine Biosynthesis in Absence or Presence of Hif2α in Pheochromocytoma Cells
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050594 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) with activated pseudohypoxic pathways are associated with an immature catecholamine phenotype and carry a higher risk for metastasis. For improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms we investigated the impact of hypoxia and pseudohypoxia on catecholamine biosynthesis in pheochromocytoma cells [...] Read more.
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) with activated pseudohypoxic pathways are associated with an immature catecholamine phenotype and carry a higher risk for metastasis. For improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms we investigated the impact of hypoxia and pseudohypoxia on catecholamine biosynthesis in pheochromocytoma cells naturally lacking Hif2α (MPC and MTT) or expressing both Hif1α and Hif2α (PC12). Cultivation under extrinsic hypoxia or in spheroid culture (intrinsic hypoxia) increased cellular dopamine and norepinephrine contents in all cell lines. To distinguish further between Hif1α- and Hif2α-driven effects we expressed Hif2α in MTT and MPC-mCherry cells (naturally lacking Hif2α). Presence of Hif2α resulted in similarly increased cellular dopamine and norepinephrine under hypoxia as in the control cells. Furthermore, hypoxia resulted in enhanced phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). A specific knockdown of Hif1α in PC12 diminished these effects. Pseudohypoxic conditions, simulated by expression of Hif2α under normoxia resulted in increased TH phosphorylation, further stimulated by extrinsic hypoxia. Correlations with PPGL tissue data led us to conclude that catecholamine biosynthesis under hypoxia is mainly mediated through increased phosphorylation of TH, regulated as a short-term response (24–48 h) by HIF1α. Continuous activation of hypoxia-related genes under pseudohypoxia leads to a HIF2α-mediated phosphorylation of TH (permanent status). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chromogranin A in the Laboratory Diagnosis of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
Cancers 2019, 11(4), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11040586 - 25 Apr 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
This work discusses the clinical performance of chromogranin A (CGA), a commonly measured marker in neuroendocrine neoplasms, for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL). Plasma CGA (cut-off value 150 µg/L) was determined by an immunoradiometric assay. Free metanephrine (cut-off value 100 ng/L) and normetanephrine [...] Read more.
This work discusses the clinical performance of chromogranin A (CGA), a commonly measured marker in neuroendocrine neoplasms, for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL). Plasma CGA (cut-off value 150 µg/L) was determined by an immunoradiometric assay. Free metanephrine (cut-off value 100 ng/L) and normetanephrine (cut-off value 170 ng/L) were determined by radioimmunoassay. Blood samples were collected from PPGL patients preoperatively, one week, six months, one year and two years after adrenal gland surgery. The control patients not diagnosed with PPGL suffered from adrenal problems or from MEN2 and thyroid carcinoma. The clinical sensitivity in the PPGL group of patients (n = 71) based on CGA is 90% and is below the clinical sensitivity determined by metanephrines (97%). The clinical specificity based on all plasma CGA values after surgery (n = 98) is 99% and is the same for metanephrines assays. The clinical specificity of CGA in the control group (n = 85) was 92% or 99% using metanephrines tests. We can conclude that plasma CGA can serve as an appropriate complement to metanephrines assays in laboratory diagnosis of PPGL patients. CGA is elevated in PPGLs, as well as in other neuroendocrine or non-neuroendocrine neoplasia and under clinical conditions increasing adrenergic activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
FGF21 Levels in Pheochromocytoma/Functional Paraganglioma
Cancers 2019, 11(4), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11040485 - 05 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a hepatokine with beneficial effects on metabolism. Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between the serum FGF21, and energy and glucose metabolism in 40 patients with pheochromocytoma/functional paraganglioma (PPGL), in comparison with 21 obese patients and [...] Read more.
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a hepatokine with beneficial effects on metabolism. Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between the serum FGF21, and energy and glucose metabolism in 40 patients with pheochromocytoma/functional paraganglioma (PPGL), in comparison with 21 obese patients and 26 lean healthy controls. 27 patients with PPGL were examined one year after tumor removal. Basic anthropometric and biochemical measurements were done. Energy metabolism was measured by indirect calorimetry (Vmax-Encore 29N). FGF21 was measured by ELISA. FGF21 was higher in PPGL than in controls (174.2 (283) pg/mL vs. 107.9 (116) pg/mL; p < 0.001) and comparable with obese (174.2 (283) pg/mL vs. 160.4 (180); p = NS). After tumor removal, FGF21 decreased (176.4 (284) pg/mL vs. 131.3 (225) pg/mL; p < 0.001). Higher levels of FGF21 were expressed, particularly in patients with diabetes. FGF21 positively correlated in PPGL with age (p = 0.005), BMI (p = 0.028), glycemia (p = 0.002), and glycated hemoglobin (p = 0.014). In conclusion, long-term catecholamine overproduction in PPGL leads to the elevation in serum FGF21, especially in patients with secondary diabetes. FGF21 levels were comparable between obese and PPGL patients, despite different anthropometric indices. We did not find a relationship between FGF21 and hypermetabolism in PPGL. Tumor removal led to the normalization of FGF21 and the other metabolic abnormalities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Catecholamines Induce Left Ventricular Subclinical Systolic Dysfunction: A Speckle-Tracking Echocardiography Study
Cancers 2019, 11(3), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11030318 - 06 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Pheochromocytomas (PHEO) are tumors arising from chromaffin cells from the adrenal medulla, having the ability to produce, metabolize and secrete catecholamines. The overproduction of catecholamines leads by many mechanisms to the impairment in the left ventricle (LV) function, however, endocardial measurement [...] Read more.
Background: Pheochromocytomas (PHEO) are tumors arising from chromaffin cells from the adrenal medulla, having the ability to produce, metabolize and secrete catecholamines. The overproduction of catecholamines leads by many mechanisms to the impairment in the left ventricle (LV) function, however, endocardial measurement of systolic function did not find any differences between patients with PHEO and essential hypertension (EH). The aim of the study was to investigate whether global longitudinal strain (GLS) derived from speckle-tracking echocardiography can detect catecholamine-induced subclinical impairments in systolic function. Methods: We analyzed 17 patients (10 females and seven males) with PHEO and 18 patients (nine females and nine males) with EH. The groups did not differ in age or in 24-h blood pressure values. Results: The patients with PHEO did not differ in echocardiographic parameters including LV ejection fraction compared to the EH patients (0.69 ± 0.04 vs. 0.71 ± 0.05; NS), nevertheless, in spackle-tracking analysis, the patients with PHEO displayed significantly lower GLS than the EH patients (−14.8 ± 1.5 vs. −17.8 ± 1.7; p < 0.001). Conclusions: Patients with PHEO have a lower magnitude of GLS than the patients with EH, suggesting that catecholamines induce a subclinical decline in LV systolic function. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficacy and Safety of Ablative Therapy in the Treatment of Patients with Metastatic Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
Cancers 2019, 11(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11020195 - 07 Feb 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Metastatic pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) are incurable neuroendocrine tumors. The goals of treatment include palliating symptoms and reducing tumor burden. Little is known about the use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA), cryoablation (CRYO), and percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) to treat metastatic PPGL. We performed [...] Read more.
Metastatic pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) are incurable neuroendocrine tumors. The goals of treatment include palliating symptoms and reducing tumor burden. Little is known about the use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA), cryoablation (CRYO), and percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) to treat metastatic PPGL. We performed a retrospective study of patients age 17 years and older with metastatic PPGL who were treated with ablative therapy at Mayo Clinic, USA, between June 14, 1999 and November 14, 2017. Our outcomes measures were radiographic response, procedure-related complications, and symptomatic improvement. Thirty-one patients with metastatic PPGL had 123 lesions treated during 42 RFA, 23 CRYO, and 4 PEI procedures. The median duration of follow-up was 60 months (range, 0–163 months) for non-deceased patients. Radiographic local control was achieved in 69/80 (86%) lesions. Improvement in metastasis-related pain or symptoms of catecholamine excess was achieved in 12/13 (92%) procedures. Thirty-three (67%) procedures had no known complications. Clavien-Dindo Grade I, II, IV, and V complications occurred after 7 (14%), 7 (14%), 1 (2%), and 1 (2%) of the procedures, respectively. In patients with metastatic PPGL, ablative therapy can effectively achieve local control and palliate symptoms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Increased Mortality in SDHB but Not in SDHD Pathogenic Variant Carriers
Cancers 2019, 11(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11010103 - 17 Jan 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Germline mutations in succinate dehydrogenase subunit B and D (SDHB and SDHD) are predisposed to hereditary paraganglioma (PGL) and pheochromocytoma (PHEO). The phenotype of pathogenic variants varies according to the causative gene. In this retrospective study, we estimate the mortality of [...] Read more.
Germline mutations in succinate dehydrogenase subunit B and D (SDHB and SDHD) are predisposed to hereditary paraganglioma (PGL) and pheochromocytoma (PHEO). The phenotype of pathogenic variants varies according to the causative gene. In this retrospective study, we estimate the mortality of a nationwide cohort of SDHB variant carriers and that of a large cohort of SDHD variant carriers and compare it to the mortality of a matched cohort of the general Dutch population. A total of 192 SDHB variant carriers and 232 SDHD variant carriers were included in this study. The Standard Mortality Ratio (SMR) for SDHB mutation carriers was 1.89, increasing to 2.88 in carriers affected by PGL. For SDHD variant carriers the SMR was 0.93 and 1.06 in affected carriers. Compared to the general population, mortality seems to be increased in SDHB variant carriers, especially in those affected by PGL. In SDHD variant carriers, the mortality is comparable to that of the general Dutch population, even if they are affected by PGL. This insight emphasizes the significance of DNA-testing in all PGL and PHEO patients, since different clinical risks may warrant gene-specific management strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
18F-FDOPA PET/CT Combined with MRI for Gross Tumor Volume Delineation in Patients with Skull Base Paraganglioma
Cancers 2019, 11(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11010054 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this simulation study, we assessed differences in gross tumor volume (GTV) in a series of skull base paragangliomas (SBPGLs) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 18F-dihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-FDOPA) combined positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), and 18F-FDOPA PET/MRI images obtained by [...] Read more.
In this simulation study, we assessed differences in gross tumor volume (GTV) in a series of skull base paragangliomas (SBPGLs) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 18F-dihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-FDOPA) combined positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), and 18F-FDOPA PET/MRI images obtained by rigid alignment of PET and MRI. GTV was delineated in 16 patients with SBPGLs on MRI (GTVMRI), 18F-FDOPA PET/CT (GTVPET), and combined PET/MRI (GTVPET/MRI). GTVPET/MRI was the union of GTVMRI and GTVPET after visual adjustment. Three observers delineated GTVMRI and GTVPET/MRI independently. Excellent interobserver reproducibility was found for both GTVMRI and GTVPET/MRI. GTVPET and GTVMRI were not significantly different. However, there was some spatial difference between the locations of GTVMRI, GTVPET, and GTVPET/MRI. The Dice similarity coefficient median value was 0.4 between PET/CT and MRI, and 0.8 between MRI and PET/MRI. The combined use of PET/MRI produced a larger GTV than MRI alone. Nevertheless, both the target-delivered dose and organs-at-risk conservancy were respected when treatment was planned on the PET/MRI-matched data set. Future integration of 18F-FDOPA PET/CT into clinical practice will be necessary to evaluate the influence of this diagnostic modality on SBPGL therapeutic management. If the clinical utility of 18F-FDOPA PET/CT and/or PET/MRI is confirmed, GTVPET/MRI should be considered for tailored radiotherapy planning in patients with SBPGL. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
RNA-Sequencing Analysis of Adrenocortical Carcinoma, Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma from a Pan-Cancer Perspective
Cancers 2018, 10(12), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10120518 - 15 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) are defined by clinicopathological criteria and can be further sub-divided based on different molecular features. Whether differences between these molecular subgroups are significant enough to re-challenge their current clinicopathological classification is currently unknown. It is [...] Read more.
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) are defined by clinicopathological criteria and can be further sub-divided based on different molecular features. Whether differences between these molecular subgroups are significant enough to re-challenge their current clinicopathological classification is currently unknown. It is also not fully understood to which other cancers ACC and PPGL show similarity to. To address these questions, we included recent RNA-Seq data from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) datasets. Two bioinformatics pipelines were used for unsupervised clustering and principal components analysis. Results were validated using consensus clustering model and interpreted according to previous pan-cancer experiments. Two datasets consisting of 3319 tumors from 35 disease categories were studied. Consistent with the current classification, ACCs clustered as a homogenous group in a pan-cancer context. It also clustered close to neural crest derived tumors, including gliomas, neuroblastomas, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, and PPGLs. Contrary, some PPGLs mixed with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors or neuroblastomas. Thus, our unbiased gene-expression analysis of PPGL did not overlap with their current clinicopathological classification. These results emphasize some importances of the shared embryological origin of these tumors, all either related or close to neural crest tumors, and opens for investigation of a complementary categorization based on gene-expression features. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Intricacies of the Molecular Machinery of Catecholamine Biosynthesis and Secretion by Chromaffin Cells of the Normal Adrenal Medulla and in Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1121; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081121 - 06 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The adrenal medulla is composed predominantly of chromaffin cells producing and secreting the catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Catecholamine biosynthesis and secretion is a complex and tightly controlled physiologic process. The pathways involved have been extensively studied, and various elements of the underlying [...] Read more.
The adrenal medulla is composed predominantly of chromaffin cells producing and secreting the catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Catecholamine biosynthesis and secretion is a complex and tightly controlled physiologic process. The pathways involved have been extensively studied, and various elements of the underlying molecular machinery have been identified. In this review, we provide a detailed description of the route from stimulus to secretion of catecholamines by the normal adrenal chromaffin cell compared to chromaffin tumor cells in pheochromocytomas. Pheochromocytomas are adrenomedullary tumors that are characterized by uncontrolled synthesis and secretion of catecholamines. This uncontrolled secretion can be partly explained by perturbations of the molecular catecholamine secretory machinery in pheochromocytoma cells. Chromaffin cell tumors also include sympathetic paragangliomas originating in sympathetic ganglia. Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are usually locally confined tumors, but about 15% do metastasize to distant locations. Histopathological examination currently poorly predicts future biologic behavior, thus long term postoperative follow-up is required. Therefore, there is an unmet need for prognostic biomarkers. Clearer understanding of the cellular mechanisms involved in the secretory characteristics of pheochromocytomas and sympathetic paragangliomas may offer one approach for the discovery of novel prognostic biomarkers for improved therapeutic targeting and monitoring of treatment or disease progression. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Postoperative Management in Patients with Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 936; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11070936 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are rare catecholamine-secreting neuroendocrine tumors of the adrenal medulla and sympathetic/parasympathetic ganglion cells, respectively. Excessive release of catecholamines leads to episodic symptoms and signs of PPGL, which include hypertension, headache, palpitations, and diaphoresis. Intraoperatively, large amounts of catecholamines are [...] Read more.
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are rare catecholamine-secreting neuroendocrine tumors of the adrenal medulla and sympathetic/parasympathetic ganglion cells, respectively. Excessive release of catecholamines leads to episodic symptoms and signs of PPGL, which include hypertension, headache, palpitations, and diaphoresis. Intraoperatively, large amounts of catecholamines are released into the bloodstream through handling and manipulation of the tumor(s). In contrast, there could also be an abrupt decline in catecholamine levels after tumor resection. Because of such binary manifestations of PPGL, patients may develop perplexing and substantially devastating cardiovascular complications during the perioperative period. These complications include hypertension, hypotension, arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and cerebrovascular accident. Other complications seen in the postoperative period include fever, hypoglycemia, cortisol deficiency, urinary retention, etc. In the interest of safe patient care, such emergencies require precise diagnosis and treatment. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, and intensivists must be aware of the clinical manifestations and complications associated with a sudden increase or decrease in catecholamine levels and should work closely together to be able to provide appropriate management to minimize morbidity and mortality associated with PPGLs. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Malignant Pheochromocytomas/Paragangliomas and Ectopic Hormonal Secretion: A Case Series and Review of the Literature
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050724 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Malignant pheochromocytomas (PCs) and paragangliomas (PGLs) are rare neuroendocrine neoplasms defined by the presence of distant metastases. There is currently a relatively paucity of data regarding the natural history of PCs/PGLs and the optimal approach to their treatment. We retrospectively analyzed the clinical, [...] Read more.
Malignant pheochromocytomas (PCs) and paragangliomas (PGLs) are rare neuroendocrine neoplasms defined by the presence of distant metastases. There is currently a relatively paucity of data regarding the natural history of PCs/PGLs and the optimal approach to their treatment. We retrospectively analyzed the clinical, biochemical, imaging, genetic and histopathological characteristics of fourteen patients with metastatic PCs/PGLs diagnosed over 15 years, along with their response to treatment. Patients were followed-up for a median of six years (range: 1–14 years). Six patients had synchronous metastases and the remaining developed metastases after a median of four years (range 2–10 years). Genetic analysis of seven patients revealed that three harbored succinate dehydrogenase subunit B/D gene (SDHB/D) mutations. Hormonal hypersecretion occurred in 70% of patients; normetanephrine, either alone or with other concomitant hormones, was the most frequent secretory component. Patients were administered multiple first and subsequent treatments including surgery (n = 12), chemotherapy (n = 7), radionuclide therapy (n = 2) and radiopeptides (n = 5). Seven patients had stable disease, four had progressive disease and three died. Ectopic hormonal secretion is rare and commonly encountered in benign PCs. Ectopic secretion of interleukin-6 in one of our patients, prompted a literature review of ectopic hormonal secretion, particularly from metastatic PCs/PGLs. Only four cases of metastatic PC/PGLs with confirmed ectopic secretion of hormones or peptides have been described so far. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas: Bypassing Cellular Respiration
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050683 - 16 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that show the highest heritability of all human neoplasms and represent a paradoxical example of genetic heterogeneity. Amongst the elevated number of genes involved in the hereditary predisposition to the disease (at least nineteen) there [...] Read more.
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that show the highest heritability of all human neoplasms and represent a paradoxical example of genetic heterogeneity. Amongst the elevated number of genes involved in the hereditary predisposition to the disease (at least nineteen) there are eleven tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle-related genes, some of which are also involved in the development of congenital recessive neurological disorders and other cancers such as cutaneous and uterine leiomyomas, gastrointestinal tumors and renal cancer. Somatic or germline mutation of genes encoding enzymes catalyzing pivotal steps of the TCA cycle not only disrupts cellular respiration, but also causes severe alterations in mitochondrial metabolite pools. These latter alterations lead to aberrant accumulation of “oncometabolites” that, in the end, may lead to deregulation of the metabolic adaptation of cells to hypoxia, inhibition of the DNA repair processes and overall pathological changes in gene expression. In this review, we will address the TCA cycle mutations leading to the development of PPGL, and we will discuss the relevance of these mutations for the transformation of neural crest-derived cells and potential therapeutic approaches based on the emerging knowledge of underlying molecular alterations. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas: From Genetic Diversity to Targeted Therapies
Cancers 2019, 11(4), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11040436 - 28 Mar 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PCPGs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that arise from the chromaffin tissue of adrenal medulla and sympathetic ganglia. Although metastatic PCPGs account for only 10% of clinical cases, morbidity and mortality are high because of the uncontrollable mass effect and catecholamine [...] Read more.
Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PCPGs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that arise from the chromaffin tissue of adrenal medulla and sympathetic ganglia. Although metastatic PCPGs account for only 10% of clinical cases, morbidity and mortality are high because of the uncontrollable mass effect and catecholamine level generated by these tumors. Despite our expanding knowledge of PCPG genetics, the clinical options to effectively suppress PCPG progression remain limited. Several recent translational studies revealed that PCPGs with different molecular subtypes exhibit distinctive oncogenic pathways and spectrum of therapy resistance. This suggests that therapeutics can be adjusted based on the signature molecular and metabolic pathways of PCPGs. In this review, we summarized the latest findings on PCPG genetics, novel therapeutic targets, and perspectives for future personalized medicine. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Developmental Perspective on Paragangliar Tumorigenesis
Cancers 2019, 11(3), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11030273 - 26 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this review, we propose that paraganglioma is a fundamentally organized, albeit aberrant, tissue composed of neoplastic vascular and neural cell types that share a common origin from a multipotent mesenchymal-like stem/progenitor cell. This view is consistent with the pseudohypoxic footprint implicated in [...] Read more.
In this review, we propose that paraganglioma is a fundamentally organized, albeit aberrant, tissue composed of neoplastic vascular and neural cell types that share a common origin from a multipotent mesenchymal-like stem/progenitor cell. This view is consistent with the pseudohypoxic footprint implicated in the molecular pathogenesis of the disease, is in harmony with the neural crest origin of the paraganglia, and is strongly supported by the physiological model of carotid body hyperplasia. Our immunomorphological and molecular studies of head and neck paragangliomas demonstrate in all cases relationships between the vascular and the neural tumor compartments, that share mesenchymal and immature vasculo-neural markers, conserved in derived cell cultures. This immature, multipotent phenotype is supported by constitutive amplification of NOTCH signaling genes and by loss of the microRNA-200s and -34s, which control NOTCH1, ZEB1, and PDGFRA in head and neck paraganglioma cells. Importantly, the neuroepithelial component is distinguished by extreme mitochondrial alterations, associated with collapse of the ΔΨm. Finally, our xenograft models of head and neck paraganglioma demonstrate that mesenchymal-like cells first give rise to a vasculo-angiogenic network, and then self-organize into neuroepithelial-like clusters, a process inhibited by treatment with imatinib. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Value of Histological Algorithms to Predict the Malignancy Potential of Pheochromocytomas and Abdominal Paragangliomas—A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of the Literature
Cancers 2019, 11(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11020225 - 15 Feb 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) and abdominal paragangliomas (PGLs), collectively abbreviated PPGLs, are neuroendocrine tumors of the adrenal medulla and paraganglia, respectively. These tumors exhibit malignant potential but seldom display evidence of metastatic spread, the latter being the only widely accepted evidence of malignancy. To counter [...] Read more.
Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) and abdominal paragangliomas (PGLs), collectively abbreviated PPGLs, are neuroendocrine tumors of the adrenal medulla and paraganglia, respectively. These tumors exhibit malignant potential but seldom display evidence of metastatic spread, the latter being the only widely accepted evidence of malignancy. To counter this, pre-defined histological algorithms have been suggested to stratify the risk of malignancy: Pheochromocytoma of the Adrenal Gland Scaled Score (PASS) and the Grading system for Adrenal Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma (GAPP). The PASS algorithm was originally intended for PCCs whereas the GAPP model is proposed for stratification of both PCCs and PGLs. In parallel, advances in terms of coupling overtly malignant PPGLs to the underlying molecular genetics have been made, but there is yet no combined risk stratification model based on histology and the overall mutational profile of the tumor. In this review, we systematically meta-analyzed previously reported cohorts using the PASS and GAPP algorithms and acknowledge a “rule-out” way of approaching these stratification models rather than a classical “rule-in” strategy. Moreover, the current genetic panorama regarding possible molecular adjunct markers for PPGL malignancy is reviewed. A combined histological and genetic approach will be needed to fully elucidate the malignant potential of these tumors. Full article
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