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It is possible that the main title of the report Pheochromocytoma is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • adrenal paraganglioma
  • chromaffin cell tumor
  • paraganglioma

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Pheochromocytoma is a rare type of tumor that arises from certain cells known as chromaffin cells, which produce hormones necessary for the body to function properly. Most pheochromocytomas originate in one of the two adrenal glands located above the kidneys in the back of the upper abdomen. Most chromaffin cells are found in the adrenal gland's inner layer, which is known as the adrenal medulla. Approximately 90 percent of pheochromocytomas occur in the adrenal medulla. Approximately 10 percent occur outside of this area. These cases are referred to as extra-adrenal pheochromocytomas or paragangliomas. Paragangliomas may be found in the chest, heart, bladder, and/or neck or base of the skull. Symptoms associated with pheochromocytomas include high blood pressure (hypertension), headaches, excessive sweating, and/or heart palpitations. In most cases, pheochromocytomas occur randomly, for unknown reasons (sporadically). In approximately 25 to 35 percent of cases, pheochromocytomas may be inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Some inherited cases may occur as part of a larger disorder such as multiple endocrine neoplasia types 2a and 2b, von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, neurofibromatosis or familial paraganglioma syndromes types 1, 3 or 4, or as familial isolated pheochromocytoma.

Supporting Organizations

AMEN Support

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Maryville, TN 37801
Tel: (865) 283-5842
Fax: 1-866-612-8579

American Cancer Society, Inc.

250 Williams NW St
Ste 6000
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345

Association for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Disorders (AMEND)

The Warehouse
No. 1 Draper Street
Kent, TN4 0PG
United Kingdom
Tel: 441892516076
Fax: 441892516076

Cancer Support Community

1050 17th St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
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Tel: (888)793-9355

Caring for Carcinoid Foundation

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Boston, MA 02116
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Fax: (617)948-2501

Friends of Cancer Research

1800 M Street NW
Suite 1050 South
Washington, DC 22202
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Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763

National Adrenal Diseases Foundation

505 Northern Bloulevard
Great Neck, NY 11021
Tel: (516)487-4992
Fax: (516)829-5710

National Cancer Institute

6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Tel: (301)435-3848
Tel: (800)422-6237

National Dysautonomia Research Foundation

PO Box 301
Red Wing, MN 55066-0102
Tel: (651)327-0367

Pheo Para Troopers

P.O. Box 2064
Kokomo, IN 46904

Rare Cancer Alliance

1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

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It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

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Last Updated:  1/2/1970
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