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Ernst von Dobschuetz, Helena Leijon, Camilla Schalin-Jäntti, Francesca Schiavi, Michael Brauckhoff, Mariola Peczkowska, Giovanna Spiazzi, Serena Demattè, Maria Enrica Cecchini, Paola Sartorato, Jolanta Krajewska, Kornelia Hasse-Lazar, Katarzyna Roszkowska-Purska, Elisa Taschin, Angelica Malinoc, Lars A Akslen, Johanna Arola, Dariusz Lange, Ambrogio Fassina, Gianmaria Pennelli, Mattia Barbareschi, Jutta Luettges, Aleksander Prejbisz, Andrzej Januszewicz, Tim Strate, Birke Bausch, Frederic Castinetti, Barbara Jarzab, Giuseppe Opocher, Charis Eng and Hartmut P H Neumann

The precise diagnosis of thyroid neoplasias will guide surgical management. Primary thyroid paraganglioma has been rarely reported. Data on prevalence, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and molecular genetics in a systematic series of such patients are pending. We performed a multinational population-based study on thyroid paraganglioma and analyzed prevalence, IHC, and molecular genetics. Patients with thyroid paraganglioma were recruited from the European-American-Head-and-Neck-Paraganglioma-Registry. Demographic and clinical data were registered. Histopathology and IHC were re-investigated. All patients with thyroid paraganglioma underwent molecular genetic analyses of the SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, VHL, RET, TMEM127, and MAX genes. Analyses included Sanger sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) for detection of large rearrangements. Of 947 registrants, eight candidates were initially identified. After immunohistochemical analyses of these eight subjects, 5 (0.5%) were confirmed to have thyroid paraganglioma. IHC was positive for chromogranin, synaptophysin, and S-100 and negative for calcitonin in all five thyroid paragangliomas, whereas the three excluded candidate tumors stained positive for pan-cytokeratin, a marker excluding endocrine tumors. Germline variants, probably representing mutations, were found in four of the five confirmed thyroid paraganglioma cases, two each in SDHA and SDHB, whereas the excluded cases had no mutations in the tested genes. Thyroid paraganglioma is a finite entity, which must be differentiated from medullary thyroid carcinoma, because medical, surgical, and genetic management for each is different. Notably, approximately 80% of thyroid paragangliomas are associated with germline variants, with implications for additional tumors and a potential risk for the family. As opposed to sporadic tumors, surgical management and extent of resection are different for heritable tumors, each guided by the precise gene involved.

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Hartmut P Neumann, William F Young Jr, Tobias Krauss, Jean-Pierre Bayley, Francesca Schiavi, Giuseppe Opocher, Carsten C Boedeker, Amit Tirosh, Frederic Castinetti, Juri Ruf, Dmitry Beltsevich, Martin Walz, Harald-Thomas Groeben, Ernst von Dobschuetz, Oliver Gimm, Nelson Wohllk, Marija Pfeifer, Delmar M Lourenço Jr, Mariola Peczkowska, Attila Patocs, Joanne Ngeow, Özer Makay, Nalini S Shah, Arthur Tischler, Helena Leijon, Gianmaria Pennelli, Karina Villar Gómez de las Heras, Thera P Links, Birke Bausch and Charis Eng

Although the authors of the present review have contributed to genetic discoveries in the field of pheochromocytoma research, we can legitimately ask whether these advances have led to improvements in the diagnosis and management of patients with pheochromocytoma. The answer to this question is an emphatic Yes! In the field of molecular genetics, the well-established axiom that familial (genetic) pheochromocytoma represents 10% of all cases has been overturned, with >35% of cases now attributable to germline disease-causing mutations. Furthermore, genetic pheochromocytoma can now be grouped into five different clinical presentation types in the context of the ten known susceptibility genes for pheochromocytoma-associated syndromes. We now have the tools to diagnose patients with genetic pheochromocytoma, identify germline mutation carriers and to offer gene-informed medical management including enhanced surveillance and prevention. Clinically, we now treat an entire family of tumors of the paraganglia, with the exact phenotype varying by specific gene. In terms of detection and classification, simultaneous advances in biochemical detection and imaging localization have taken place, and the histopathology of the paraganglioma tumor family has been revised by immunohistochemical-genetic classification by gene-specific antibody immunohistochemistry. Treatment options have also been substantially enriched by the application of minimally invasive and adrenal-sparing surgery. Finally and most importantly, it is now widely recognized that patients with genetic pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma syndromes should be treated in specialized centers dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and surveillance of this rare neoplasm.