Symptoms and Signs of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma in Children

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/19/2021

Doctor's Notes on Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma in Children

Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma are rare tumors that develop in the same type of nerve tissue of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands make important hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) that help control heart rate, blood pressureblood sugar, and the way the body reacts to stress. Pheochromocytoma forms in the adrenal medulla, which is the center of the adrenal glands. Paraganglioma forms outside the adrenal glands near the carotid artery, along nerve pathways in the head and neck, and in other parts of the body. 

Some tumors do not make extra adrenaline or noradrenaline and do not cause symptoms. Some pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas in children produce extra adrenaline and noradrenaline that can cause symptoms such as 

What Is the Treatment for Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma in Children?

The treatment of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma in children can involve different types of therapies, including:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor
  • Chemotherapy
  • 131I-MIBG therapy, treatment with high-dose radioactive iodine
  • Targeted therapies, which are designed to attack specific types of cancer cells

Another option for the treatment of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma in children is participation in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are used to test new therapies or new combinations of therapies. 


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.