Where Are Paragangliomas Found & What Is The Best Treatment For It?

According to medical experts, paragangliomas are generally diagnosed in the head, neck, or the torso area. But some paraganglioma is found in the adrenal glands.1, 2

Paragangliomas are rare neuroendocrine tumors, occurring in two to eight persons and the best treatment for paraganglioma is to remove it surgically3.

The standard care and best treatment for paraganglioma is usually surgery and drug therapy4, 5

Where Are Paragangliomas Found?

Paragangliomas are a type of neuroendocrine tumor found within the larynx, orbit, thyroid gland, nasopharynx, and the neck. According to medical experts, paragangliomas are generally diagnosed in the head, neck, or the torso area. But some paraganglioma is found in the adrenal glands.

Paragangliomas are present as pulsatile tinnitus (a rhythmical noise or whooshing sounds in your ears that seem to match your heartbeat or pulse) and hearing loss in the head and neck area. Rare occurrences of paraganglioma are found in the neck causing abnormalities in the voice and swallowing difficulties.

A medical study was conducted on an individual who experienced lump mass behind the ears. After a series of diagnoses, the condition was identified to be cancerous and a reddish mass was noticed behind the tympanic membrane (eardrum) particularly in the posteroinferior quadrant.
Paraganglioma occurring in the middle ear is often referred to as glomus tympanicum which is highly vascular with benign characteristics. Although the mutation is a rare occurrence however when they develop, they affect people to develop paraganglioma in the head or the neck.1, 2

What Is The Best Treatment For Paragangliomas?

Paragangliomas are rare neuroendocrine tumors, occurring in two to eight persons and the best treatment for paraganglioma is to remove it surgically. When your healthcare provider thinks you may have paraganglioma, they may suggest for a medical oncologist consultation who can determine the neuroendocrine tumor using a series of tests such as 24-hour urine tests, blood tests, imaging tests, and genetic testing.3

The standard care and best treatment for paraganglioma is usually surgery and drug therapy

Surgery- Surgery is the first choice of treatment to remove the tumor. The technique is also effective when the tumor has spread to distant parts of the body or requires reducing the size. Laparoscopic surgery may be performed for pheochromocytomas & paragangliomas and the plasma catecholamines should be monitored 4–8 weeks after surgery to ensure successful removal of all tumor tissues.

Embolization Therapy- Preoperative embolization of carotid paraganglioma is the most preferred and very safe procedure when compared to surgery. Embolization therapy can reduce the risk of surgical bleed (operative blood loss) and associated morbidity, especially for extensive tumor resection.

Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy are cancer treatment that uses drugs to hinder the growth of the cancerous cells and prevent them from multiplication.4, 5

Paragangliomas are rare tumors that develop from extra-adrenal paraganglia. Although the mutation is a rare occurrence however when they develop, they affect people to develop paraganglioma in the head or the neck.

These conditions induce high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat rhythm, pale face, profuse sweating, headache, and tremors. The management of paraganglioma is highly complicated and requires a specialist who has a vast experience in managing the tumors.

References:

  1. “Nonsyndromic Paraganglioma – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/nonsyndromic-paraganglioma.
  2. Erickson, Dana, et al. “Benign Paragangliomas: Clinical Presentation and Treatment Outcomes in 236 Patients.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Nov. 2001, academic.oup.com/jcem/article/86/11/5210/2849297.
  3. Jimenez, Camilo. “Treatment for Patients with Malignant Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas: A Perspective From the Hallmarks of Cancer.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 11 May 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2018.00277/full.
  4. Paraganglioma of the Skull Base Treated with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, appliedradiationoncology.com/articles/paraganglioma-of-the-skull-base-treated-with-intensity-modulated-radiation-therapy.
  5. “Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment – Patient Information [NCI].” Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment – Patient Information [NCI] | Michigan Medicine, www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ncicdr0000270724.

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