Where are pheochromocytomas located most commonly?

Updated: Aug 10, 2018
  • Author: Michael A Blake, MBBCh, MRCPI, FRCR; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

About 85% of pheochromocytomas are located within the adrenal glands, and 98% are within the abdomen. When such tumors arise outside of the adrenal gland, they are termed extra-adrenal pheochromocytomas, or paragangliomas.

Extra-adrenal pheochromocytomas develop in the paraganglion chromaffin tissue of the nervous system. They may occur anywhere from the base of the brain to the urinary bladder. Common locations for extra-adrenal pheochromocytomas include the organ of Zuckerkandl (close to the origin of the inferior mesenteric artery), bladder wall, heart, mediastinum, and carotid and glomus jugulare bodies. (See Workup.)


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