Catecholamine-secreting paraganglioma of the thoracic spinal column: Report of an unusual case and review of the literature

Lauren N. Simpson, Betsy D. Hughes, Isaac O. Karikari, Ankit I. Mehta, Tiffany R. Hodges, Thomas J. Cummings, Carlos A. Bagley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND IMPORTANCE: Paragangliomas are rare tumors of neuroendocrine origin that arise from paraganglionic tissue of the extrachromaffin cell system. These lesions may be seen at various sites along the neuraxis. Primary thoracic paragangliomas have rarely been reported in the literature, with secretory thoracic lesions being exceedingly rare as only 3 previous cases have been cited. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: A 49-year-old woman presented with episodes of hypertension, palpitations, and diaphoresis. Workup revealed positive urine catecholamines and a thoracic spine mass extending into the thoracic apex. Preoperative α-blockade with phenoxybenzamine was used followed by posterior decompression and tumor resection. Arthrodesis from C5 to T4 was subsequently performed, and the patient received postoperative radiation. CONCLUSION: Two years postoperatively, the patient has continued to have regression of her symptoms. We report a rare case of a catecholamine-secreting primary thoracic paraganglioma in a 49-year-old woman. These tumors should be treated carefully by the neurosurgeon with preoperative assistance from endocrinology for α-blockade, followed by gross total resection and postoperative radiation if residual tumor remains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1049-E1052
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Catecholamine
  • Paraganglioma
  • Thoracic spine
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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