Disease monitoring of patients with pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma by biomarkers and imaging studies.Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 03; 34(2):101347.BP
Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) are rare neuroendocrine tumors, a large proportion of which secrete catecholamines. PPGL are associated with a high cardiovascular morbidity and come with a risk of malignancy. The therapy of choice is surgical resection. Nevertheless, PPGL are associated with a lifelong risk of tumor persistence or recurrence. Currently, there are no clinical, biochemical, histopathological or imaging characteristics, which can predict or exclude malignant behavior or tumor recurrence. Therefore, long-term follow-up is recommended even after apparent complete surgical removal. Early detection of recurrence is essential to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality due to catecholamine secretion, to prevent morbidity by mass effects of paraganglioma (PGL) or by metastatic spread of disease. Due to the rarity of these tumors, no prospective data on long-term surveillance exist. In fact, current recommendations are based on retrospective analyses, expert opinions and case studies. The aim of this review is to provide an overview on the current state of knowledge with regard to known factors that increase the risk of recurrence and might impact disease monitoring as well as the available possibilities for biochemical and imaging follow-up. Based on this overview, we aim to propose a practical approach for a patient-oriented follow-up after surgical removal of a PPGL.