Malignant pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (MPP) are characterized by prognostic heterogeneity. Our objective was to look for prognostic parameters of overall survival in MPP patients.
Patients and Methods
Retrospective multicentric study of MPP characterized by a neck-thoraco-abdomino-pelvic CT or MRI at the time of malignancy diagnosis in European centers between 1998 and 2010.
We included 169 patients from 18 European centers. Main characteristics of MPP patients were: primary pheochromocytoma in 53% of patients, tumor or hormone-related symptoms in 57% or 58% of cases, positive plasma or urine hormones in 81% of patients, identification of a mutation in SDHB in 42 % of cases. Metastatic sites included the bone (64%), lymph node (40%), lung (29%) and liver (26%); mean time between initial and malignancy diagnosis was 43 months (0-614). Median follow-up was 68 months and median survival 6.7 years. Using univariate analysis, better survival was associated with head and neck paraganglioma, age <40 years, metanephrines <5-fold the upper limits of the normal range and low proliferative index. In multivariate analysis, hypersecretion (Hazard Ratio 3.02[1.65-5.55]; p:0.0004) was identified as independent significant prognostic factors of worst overall survival.
Our results do not confirm SDHB mutations as a major prognostic parameter in MPP and suggest additional key molecular events involved in MPP tumor progression. Aside from SDHB mutation, the biology of aggressive MPP remains to be understood.