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Who Is At Risk For Paraganglioma & Is There A Blood Test For It?

Paragangliomas refer to neuroendocrine or glomus tumors and they occur in different places in the neck and head. Because of this, doctors refer such tumors as temporal bone tumors, as they present on the side of one’s skull or head.(1)

A few of the neurologists said that Paraganglioma collection of cells come from embryonic nervous tissues and are present near the adrenal glands, nerves, and few of the blood vessels.(2)

Common symptoms related to Paraganglioma are hypertension i.e. high blood pressure, excessive sweating, headaches, and heart palpitations. This type of tumor often takes place randomly and because of unknown reasons i.e. sporadic way.(3)

Who Is At Risk For Paraganglioma?

Risk factors are all factors, which increase the chance of an individual developing Paraganglioma or any other similar type of tumor. Here, we will discuss the risk factors, which increase the occurrence of Paraganglioma or any other similar type of tumor. These include the following-

Inherited Syndromes And Genetic Mutations: Approximately 25percent to 35percent of paragangliomas have links with hereditary syndromes. Furthermore, a few of the genes, which even though do not have a connection with non-hereditary syndromes, are responsible to cause neuroendocrine tumors. Common genetic mutations and syndromes are responsible to enhance the risk to develop Paraganglioma tumor is-

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2: About 50percent of individuals with this type of genetic change, develop the problem of endocrine tumors. However, tumors develop from MEN2 do not cause any symptoms.

Neurofibromatosis Type 1: Approximately 5percent of individuals with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 undergo diagnosis with the condition of paraganglioma.

Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome: Approximately 10percent to 20percent of syndromes contribute to developing the problem of paraganglioma and such syndromes take place in both of the adrenal glands.

Succinate De Hydrogenase Mutations: Inherited or germline mutations in the SDH gene family have an association with an increase in risk related to paraganglioma.

Carney Triad: Carney triad is a rare and non-hereditary condition, which causes Paraganglioma with tumors and GISTs in the lungs cartilage.

Carney-Stratakis Dyad: Paraganglioma forms with gastrointestinal stromal tumors i.e. GISTs.(4)

Age Of A Person: Paraganglioma tumors may take place at almost every age. However, the tumor of this type is common in people from 30years to 50years age.(4)

Is There A Blood Test To Diagnose Paragangliomas?

Blood Test To Assess Hormone Levels: Yes, your doctor will recommend blood tests to assess your hormone levels. However, before going for the blood test for Paraganglioma, you have to discuss with your doctor to make special preparations, like skipping any particular type of medicine or overnight fasting. You should not intake any medicine or skip without discussing it with the doctor.

Blood Test To Conduct Genetic Test: Paraganglioma tumor runs in families in some cases and in that case, it has an association with altered genes, which transmit to the child from his or her parent. In this situation, your doctor will recommend another type of blood test to detect the presence of an altered gene.(5)

However, if you go to diagnose for Paraganglioma tumor, your doctor will recommend additional tests. These include the following-

24-Hour Urine Test: Your doctor will ask you to collect a urine sample every time you go to the bathroom during a 1day or 24hours period. The collected urine will assess the excretion of hormones in the urine. Your doctor and the lab assistant will instruct you on ways to store, a method to label and return your collected urinary samples.

Imaging Test: Your doctor will prescribe your imaging tests to define the location of your tumor accurately. These studies are CT, MRI, and specialized nuclear medicine scans, like for instance PET scan.(5)


Genetic mutations and syndromes, along with the age of an individual are a few of the risk factors associated with Paraganglioma tumors. Yes, doctors recommend a blood test to diagnose Paraganglioma, as the blood test determines both altered gene and hormone levels.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 29, 2020

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