Human pheochromocytoma: Different patterns of catecholamines and chromogranins in the intact tumour, urine and serum in clinically unsuspected cases

S. Aardal, N. P. Aardal, T. H. Larsen, R. H. Angeletti, M. Stridsberg, L. Taupenot, D. Aunis, K. B. Helle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Clinically unsuspected pheochromocytoma is usually discovered either at autopsy or during surgical intervention for unrelated conditions, despite often enormous neoplastic masses producing and storing catecholamine (CA). In order to assess whether these tumours share some common features we have compiled data for six patients admitted to hospital without previous diagnosis of their pheochromocytoma. The clinical variables and the morphological and immunohistochemical characteristics of the tumours revealed that these cases represented quite different expressions of adrenomedullary neoplasms. They differed not only with respect to nuclear ploidity and overall cytoplasmic morphology but also in catecholamine storage and expression of immunoreactive chromogranin A sequences in the intact tissue. In two of the patients hypertension had been overlooked as a diagnostic indicator of their CA-producing tumours. There was no clear relationship between the mean arterial pressure, the tumour content of CA and the serum levels of CA. Processed chromogranin A dominated in the serum of the two hypertensive cases. The 24-h urine values of CA and its main metabolite (vanillin mandelic acid ) were, together with the serum values of chromogranin A and B, proportional to tumour mass and provided the most reliable diagnostic indicators for the non-hypertensive as well as the hypertensive cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-523
Number of pages13
JournalScandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1996



  • asymptomatic
  • chromagranin B
  • chromogranin A
  • chromostatin
  • human adrenal medulla
  • immunoreactivity
  • morphology
  • plasma
  • vasostatins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry

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