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B Havekes, A A van der Klaauw, H C Hoftijzer, J C Jansen, A G L van der Mey, A H J T Vriends, J W A Smit, J A Romijn, and E P M Corssmit


The objective of this study was to assess the quality of life (QoL) in patients with head-and-neck paragangliomas (‘glomus tumors’).


We conducted a case–control study.


We assessed QoL in 82 patients with head-and-neck paragangliomas using four validated health-related questionnaires: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Multidimensional Fatigue Index (MFI-20), Short Form-36 (SF-36), and Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). Patient outcomes were compared with controls provided by the patients and with a large age- and sex-adjusted control group.


The QoL scores in the paraganglioma patients were significantly reduced in 12 out of the 21 subscales compared with own controls, and in 18 out of the 21 subscales compared with age- and sex-adjusted values derived from the previous studies. In the MFI-20 questionnaire, patients reported more general fatigue, physical fatigue, mental fatigue, and a reduction in activity and motivation. The scores in the NHP showed a difference in energy, emotional reaction, and social isolation. General health perception, pain, and physical functioning were reported to be worse in the paraganglioma patients on the SF-36 scale. Although anxiety and depression did not reveal any significant differences between patients and their own controls, an increased score on both anxiety and depression was seen when compared with the extended control group. Especially, dysphonia contributes to a reduced QoL.


QoL is considerably reduced in patients with head-and-neck paragangliomas.

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W H van Houtum, E P M Corssmit, P B Douwes Dekker, J C Jansen, A G L van der Mey, A H J T Bröcker-Vriends, P E M Taschner, M Losekoot, M Frölich, M P M Stokkel, C J Cornelisse, and J A Romijn

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of catecholamine excess and phaeochromocytomas in a well-defined population of people with hereditary head and neck paragangliomas.

Methods: We studied in a prospective follow-up protocol all consecutive patients referred to the Department of Endocrinology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands with documented head and neck paragangliomas and either a positive family history for paragangliomas or a proven SDHD gene mutation. Initial analysis included medical history, physical examination and the measurement of excretion of catecholamines in two 24-h urine collections. In the case of documented catecholamine excess iodinated meta-iodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) scintigraphy and magnetic resonance imaging were done.

Results: Between 1988 and 2003, 40 consecutive patients (20 male and 20 female) with documented head and neck paragangliomas were screened. Biochemical screening revealed urinary catechol-amine excess in 15 patients (37.5%). In nine of these 15 patients a lesion was found by 123I-MIBG scintigraphy. Exact localization by magnetic resonance imaging revealed phaeochromocytomas in seven of the 15 patients. One of the nine patients had an extra-adrenal paraganglioma. Histopathological examination in a subset of tumors displayed loss of heterozygosity of the wild-type SDHD allele in all cases.

Conclusions: The prevalence of catecholamine excess (37.5%) and phaeochromocytomas (20.0%) is high in patients with familial head and neck paragangliomas. Therefore, patients with hereditary head and neck paragangliomas require lifelong follow up by biochemical testing for catecholamine excess.