How are catecholamines measured in the workup of pheochromocytomas?

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

Catecholamines produced by pheochromocytomas are metabolized within chromaffin cells. Norepinephrine is metabolized to normetanephrine and epinephrine is metabolized to metanephrine. Because this process occurs within the tumor, independently of catecholamine release, pheochromocytomas are best diagnosed by measurement of these metabolites rather than by measurement of the parent catecholamines. [35]


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