Head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs) are neuroendocrine tumors. They arise from the parasympathetic ganglia and can be either sporadic or due to hereditary syndromes (up to 40%). Most HNPGLs do not produce significant amounts of catecholamines. We report a case of a giant paraganglioma of the skull base with an unusually severe presentation secondary to excessive release of norepinephrine, with a good outcome considering the severity of disease. A 39-year-old Caucasian woman with no prior medical history was found unconscious and emaciated in her home. In the intensive care unit (ICU) the patient was treated for multi-organ failure with multiple complications and difficulties in stabilizing her blood pressure with values up to 246/146 mmHg. She was hospitalized in the ICU for 72 days and on the 31st day clinical assessment revealed jugular foramen syndrome and paralysis of the right n. facialis. A brain MRI confirmed a right-sided tumor of the skull base of 93.553 cm3. Blood tests showed high amounts of normetanephrine (35.1-45.4 nmol/L, ref <1.09 nmol/L) and a tumor biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of a paraganglioma. Phenoxybenzamine and Labetalol were used in high doses ((Dibenyline®, 90 mg x 3 daily) and labetalol (Trandate®, 200 + 300 + 300 mg daily) to stabilize blood pressure. The patient underwent two tumor embolization procedures before total tumor resection on day 243. Normetanephrine and blood pressure normalized after surgery (0.77 nmol/L, ref: < 1.09 nmol/L). The damage to the cranial nerve was permanent. Our patient was comprehensively examined for germline predisposition to PPGLs, however we did not identify any causal aberrations. A somatic deletion and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the short arm (p) of chromosome 1 (including SDHB) and p of chromosome 11 was found. Analysis showed an SDHB (c.565T>G, p.C189G) and PTEN (c.834C>G, p.F278L) missense mutation in tumor DNA. The patient made a remarkable recovery except for neurological deficits after intensive multidisciplinary treatment and rehabilitation. This case demonstrates the necessity for an early tertiary center approach with a multidisciplinary expert team and highlights the efficacy of the correct treatment with alpha-blockade.

Original languageEnglish
Article number857504
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Pages (from-to)857504
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Case Report:Giant Paraganglioma of the Skull Base With Two Somatic Mutations in SDHB and PTEN Genes: Giant Paraganglioma of the Skull Base With Two Somatic Mutations in SDHB and PTEN Genes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this