Is Pheochromocytoma A Neuroendocrine Tumour & What About Paraganglioma?

A neuroendocrine tumor is a tumor that arises in the neuroendocrine cells in the body.

Is Pheochromocytoma A Neuroendocrine Tumour?

Pheochromocytoma is a neuroendocrine tumor. Neuroendocrine tumors are usually classified according to their location or site of origin. Pheochromocytoma occurs in the adrenal glands. It usually affects one of the two glands, however, occasionally it can affect both the glands

  • It is usually a non-cancerous tumor and is very rare in occurrence
  • The characteristic of pheochromocytoma is that it releases such hormones that lead to an episodic or continuous high blood pressure.
  • If left untreated, it may cause serious damage to other organs and systems, especially the cardiovascular system.(1)

Symptoms Of Pheochromocytoma-

The signs and symptoms of pheochromocytoma may comprise of-

Other symptoms may include-

Treatment Of Pheochromocytoma-

The first choice of treatment for pheochromocytoma is surgery. However, before the surgery is performed, the doctor will give you some medicines that will bring your blood pressure to a normal. He will also give you such medicines that block the actions of adrenaline hormone so that the blood pressure is not elevated during the surgery.

These medicines may include-

Alpha-Blockers-

  • These improve the blood flow by keeping arteries and veins open and decreasing blood pressure
  • These include medicines like phenoxybenzamine, doxazosin, prazosin, etc.
  • These, however, may cause certain side effects like dizziness, tiredness, vision problems, etc.

Beta-Blockers-

  • These medicines act by making your heartbeat slowly and with less force
  • They also keep the blood vessels relaxed and open
  • Beta-blocker is usually started several days after the alpha-blocker
  • These, include medicines like atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, etc.

These, however, may cause certain side effects like stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation, arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, breathing problems, etc.

A High-Salt Diet-

Since alpha and beta-blockers may lower the blood pressure dangerously, by keeping the blood vessels dilated, thereby reducing the amount of fluid in them; a high-salt diet is recommended to draw more fluid into the blood vessels

What About Paraganglioma? Is It A Neuroendocrine Tumour?

Paraganglioma is also a type of neuroendocrine tumors. It is a very rare type and is usually thought to be non-cancerous or benign. However, it has a strong potential to turn malignant and spread to nearby parts or organs in the body. it is even capable of spreading to distant organs and cause metastases.

In this condition, the affected cells produce adrenaline or catecholamines, which is also known as a fight or flight hormone. Excess of this may cause-

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Tachycardia or a fast heartbeat
  • Skin flush
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headaches
  • trembling

Treatment Of Paraganglioma-

Paragangliomas do not generally metastasize. But when it does, it may spread to lymph nodes, bones, lungs, livers or any other place in the body. the treatment option generally depends upon the location of the tumor and also on whether it is malignant or not. The options may comprise of-

Medications-

Generally, medications will be prescribed first, to control and reduce the symptoms caused by the paraganglioma. Usually, alpha or beta-blockers will be used for doing the job.

Surgery-

Surgery is generally the preferred type of treatment for paragangliomas. Even if it has spread far and wide, surgery gives you a chance to remove the tumor or reduce its size significantly.

Radiation Therapy-

Radiation therapy may be prescribed if there is a scanty chance of surgery.

Waiting Window-

If the growth of the tumor isn’t fast, your doctor may suggest you wait and watch for any changes in your condition, before starting any treatment

Conclusion

Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma both are the types of neuroendocrine tumors.

References:  

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