BACKGROUND: Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) have a heterogeneous prognosis, the basis of which remains unclear. We, therefore, assessed disease-specific survival (DSS) and potential predictors of progressive disease in patients with PPGLs and head/neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs) according to the presence or absence of metastases.
METHODS: This retrospective study included 582 patients with PPGLs and 57 with HNPGLs. DSS was assessed according to age, location and size of tumours, recurrent/metastatic disease, genetics, plasma metanephrines and methoxytyramine.
RESULTS: Among all patients with PPGLs, multivariable analysis indicated that apart from older age (HR = 5.4, CI = 2.93-10.29, P < 0.0001) and presence of metastases (HR = 4.8, CI = 2.41-9.94, P < 0.0001), shorter DSS was also associated with extra-adrenal tumour location (HR = 2.6, CI = 1.32-5.23, P = 0.0007) and higher plasma methoxytyramine (HR = 1.8, CI = 1.11-2.85, P = 0.0170) and normetanephrine (HR = 1.8, CI = 1.12-2.91, P = 0.0160). Among patients with HNPGLs, those with metastases presented with longer DSS compared to patients with metastatic PPGLs (33.4 versus 20.2 years, P < 0.0001) and only plasma methoxytyramine (HR = 13, CI = 1.35-148, P = 0.0380) was an independent predictor of DSS. For patients with metastatic PPGLs, multivariable analysis revealed that apart from older age (HR = 6.2, CI = 3.20-12.20, P < 0.0001), shorter DSS was associated with the presence of synchronous metastases (HR = 4.9, CI = 2.78-8.80, P < 0.0001), higher plasma methoxytyramine (HR = 2.4, CI = 1.44-4.14, P = 0.0010) and extensive metastatic burden (HR = 2.1, CI = 1.07-3.79, P = 0.0290).
CONCLUSIONS: DSS among patients with PPGLs/HNPGLs relates to several presentations of the disease that may provide prognostic markers. In particular, the independent associations of higher methoxytyramine with shorter DSS in patients with HNPGLs and metastatic PPGLs suggest the utility of this biomarker to guide individualized management and follow-up strategies in affected patients.
- MALIGNANT PHEOCHROMOCYTOMA