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Papers of the Week

2022 Aug




A Study of Paraganglioma Cases With Non-European Ancestry.


Ejaz S, Nandam N, Maygarden S, Styner M
Cureus. 2022 Aug; 14(8):e27854.
PMID: 36110458.


Capable of generating excess catecholamines, untreated extra-adrenal paragangliomas (PGLs) result in severe cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Increasingly, a hereditary basis can be identified to underlie PGLs, though such data are largely absent in populations of non-European descent. We present two patients with PGL, both exhibiting similar age, sex, and geographic ancestry. Our patients are unrelated, Kinyarwanda-speaking females from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The first patient presented with lower extremity edema and poorly controlled hypertension and was found to have multifocal PGL in the abdomen and bladder, proven by biopsy and treated with surgical excision. Our second patient presented with palpitations, shortness of breath, headache, and hypertension, was found to have mediastinal PGL, and underwent surgical excision. Genetic testing was negative in both cases. The first patient has not shown recurrence based on active surveillance with imaging and biochemical testing. There is a concern for recurrence in the second patient, eight years after diagnosis, which is currently being investigated. Our second patient lived at a high altitude for most of her life, pointing toward a possible role of hypoxia in the pathogenesis of her tumor development. Our cases raise questions that require active inquiry regarding additional environmental and/or genetic factors that might predispose to PGLs in uncommon anatomic sites and in understudied, vulnerable populations.