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2015, Volume 31, Number 0, Page(s) 105-112     
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DOI: 10.5146/tjpath.2015.01318
Update on Paragangliomas and Pheochromocytomas
Alfred KY Lam
Cancer Molecular Pathology, School of Medicine and Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Aus tralia
Keywords: Paraganglioma, Pheochromocytoma, Genetics, SDHB, Malignant

Genomic studies in the recent decades lead to the identification of new genetic mutations that have been shown to play detrimental roles in the formation of pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma. The majority of these genetic mutations detected affect two major cellular pathways – pseudo hypoxic pathway and kinase signalling pathway. Genetic mutations also resulted in syndromes related to paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma. The classical syndromes comprise - neurofibromatosis, multiple neuroendocrine neoplasia (MEN) (II and III) syndromes and von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. Also, mutations in succinate dehydrogenase genes contribute to the understanding of hereditary paragangliomapheochromocytoma syndromes, Carney’s triad and Carney- Stratakis syndrome. Lesions newly known to be associated with the genetic mutations in pheochromocytoma/ paraganglioma include gastrointestinal stromal tumour and renal cell carcinoma. Pathological features, proliferative index, genetic and biochemical parameters could help to predict the malignant potential of paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma. Different predictive systems have been proposed and with the help of immunochemical studies. Pathologist should be aware of the advances in knowledge and contribute to the validation of the pathological features and markers for prediction of malignant potential of this group of tumours.

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