Routine genetic screening with a multi-gene panel in patients with pheochromocytomas
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Several new gene mutations have been reported in recent years to be associated with a risk of familial pheochromocytoma. However, it is unclear as to whether extensive genetic testing is required in all patients.
The clinical data of consecutive patients operated for pheochromocytoma over a decade in a tertiary referral center were reviewed. Genetic screening was performed using a 10-gene panel: RET, VHL, SDHB, SDHD, SDHA, SDHC, SDHAF2, MAX, TMEM127 and FH.
A total of 166 patients were analyzed: 87 of them had genetic screening performed (39 M: 44.8%, 48 F: 55.2%, age range 6–81 years, mean 45±16.8 years). In total, 22/87 (25.3%) patients had germline mutations, while 65/87 (74.7%) patients presented with apparently sporadic tumors. Germline VHL mutations were identified in 11.7% of patients, RET in 6.8% (five MEN2A/MEN2 and one MEN2B/MEN3), SDHD in 2.3%, MAX in 2.3%, SDHB in 1.1%, and TMEM127 in 1.1% of patients. At diagnosis, 15.1% of patients with unilateral non-syndromic pheochromocytoma showed germline mutations. We identified 19.7% of mutations in patients with unilateral-non-recurrent pheochromocytomas within 5 years vs. 50% in the recurrent-bilateral-metastatic group (p = 0.01). Germline mutations were more frequently seen with bilateral pheochromocytomas (p = 0.001): 80% of patients with bilateral disease had germline mutations (4 VHL, 3 RET, 1 MAX).
The advent of rapid genetic screening using a gene-panel makes it feasible to screen large cohorts of patients and provides a valuable tool to contribute to the prediction of bilateral and malignant disease and to screen family members.
KeywordsPheochromocytoma Gene Genetic screening Adrenal Sporadic
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration, and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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