The International Journal of Romanian Society of Endocrinology / Registered in 1938

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January - March 2014, Volume 10, Issue 1
Case Report

Erem C, Civan N., Fidan M., Cobanoglu U., Kangül F., Ersoz H.O., Alhan E

Composite Adrenal Pheochromocytoma-Ganglioneuroma in an Adult Patient

Acta Endo (Buc) 2014, 10 (1): 140-149
doi: 10.4183/aeb.2014.140

Background. Composite adrenal pheochromocytoma-ganglioneuromas (PHEO-GNs) are well-defined neoplasms of the adrenal medulla, consisting of both endocrine and neural components. They are extremely rare. To date, only 46 cases have been reported in the English literature. Case report. We describe an adult case of endocrinologically active adrenal composite PHEO-GN diagnosed in a 62-year-old male patient with history of dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and uncontrolled hypertension including intermittant hypertension attacks. On physical examination, he had a blood pressure (BP) of 170/110 mmHg. 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography showed a right adrenal tumor with increased metabolic activity. Urinary levels of catecholamines and their metabolites were prominently elevated. Right adrenalectomy was performed for treatment purposes. The histological diagnosis of the resected tumor was composite adrenal PHEO-GN. Conclusions. Composite adrenal PHEO-GN is a rare entity and preoperative diagnosis is difficult. Its hormonal activity and imaging characteristics are frequently very similar to those of other adrenal tumors, especially pure PHEO and adrenal carcinoma. Therefore, careful evaluation by endocrine tests and multiple imaging procedures are needed for providing a differential diagnosis. However, definitive diagnosis composite adrenal PHEO-GN is established by histological and immunochemical studies. To our knowledge, the present case is the first report that describes composite adrenal PHEO-GN in a patient from Turkey. We discuss this case and review the literature on this unusual entity.

Keywords: Composite adrenal medullar tumor, pheochromocytoma, ganglioneuroma, hypertension.

Correspondence: Cihangir Erem PhD, Medical Faculty, Internal Medicine, KTU Tip Fakultesi, Ic Hastaliklari AbD, Trabzon, 61080, Turkey, E-mail: