Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 372, Issue 2, pp 339–346 | Cite as

Chromaffin cell biology: inferences from The Cancer Genome Atlas



Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PCC/PGLs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that are unusually diverse in metabolic profiles, in classes of molecular alterations and across a large number of altered genes. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) comprehensively profiled the molecular landscape of PCC/PGLs and identified novel genomic alterations and a new molecular classification of PCC/PGLs. In this review, we discuss the significant clinico-molecular findings of this integrated profiling study. We then review the molecular data of the TCGA cohort centering around known markers of sympathoadrenal cell lineage to better understand chromaffin cell biology. This analysis adds a new layer, that of chromaffin cell type, onto the published molecular classifications and in doing so provides inferences about underlying chromaffin cell biology and diversity.


Pheochromocytoma Paraganglioma Chromaffin cell PNMT Genomics 



LF is supported by the American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant MRSG-15-063-01-TBG.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Defense or U.S. Government.


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© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, Division of Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  2. 2.The American Genome Center, Collaborative Health Initiative Research Program, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics, School of MedicineUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA

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