F. A. Farrugia, G. Martikos, C. Surgeon, P. Tzanetis, E. Misiakos, N. Zavras and A. Charalampopoulos
The term “adrenal incidentaloma” is a radiological term. Adrenal incidentalomas are adrenal tumors discovered in an imaging study that has been obtained for indications exclusive to adrenal conditions (Udelsman 2001; Linos 2003; Bulow et al. 2006; Anagnostis et al. 2009). This definition excludes patients undergoing imaging testing as part of staging and work-up for cancer (Grumbach et al. 2003; Anagnostis et al. 2009). Papierska et al. (2013) have added the prerequisite that the size of a tumor must be “greater than 1cm in diameter”, in order to be called incidentaloma. Although in the most cases these masses are non-hypersecreting and benign, they still represent an important clinical concern because of the risk of malignancy or hormone hyperfunction (Barzon et al. 2003). Th e adrenal tumors belong to the commonest incidental findings having been discovered (Kanagarajah et al. 2012).
FA Farrugia, G Martikos, P Tzanetis, A Charalampopoulos, E Misiakos, N Zavras and D Sotiropoulos
Objective. We conducted an extensive review of the literature and tried to cite the most recent recommendations concerning the pheochromocytoma (PHEO).
Methods. Pub Med and Google Scholar databases were searched systematically for studies concerning pheochromocytomas (intra-adrenal paragangliomas) from 1980 until 2016. Bibliographies were searched to find additional articles.
Results. More than four times elevation of plasma fractionated metanephrines or elevated 24-h urinary fractionated metanephrines are keys to diagnosing pheochromocytoma. If the results are equivocal then we perform the clonidine test. If we have not done it already, we preferably do a CT scan and/or an MRI scan. The patient needs pre-treatment with α1-blockers at least 10–14 days before operation. Alternatives or sometimes adjuncts are Calcium Channels Blockers and/or β-Blockers. Several familial syndromes are associated with PHEO and genetic testing should be considered.
Conclusions. The biggest problem for pheochromocytoma is to suspect it in the first place. Elevated metanephrines establish the diagnosis. With the proper preoperative preparation the risks during operation and the postoperative period are minimal. If there is a risk of the hereditable mutation, it is strongly suggested that all the patients with pheochromocytoma need clinical genetic testing.