Sunitinib treatment for refractory malignant pheochromocytoma.

: We report the clinical response and adverse events of a female patient treated for recurrent malignant pheochromocytoma using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib. A 41-year-old woman underwent adrenectomy and nephrectomy forpotentially malignant adrenal pheochromocytoma. Fifty-four months after surgery, abdominal computed tomography (CT) and Iodine-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine((131)I-MIBG) scintigraphy revealed multiple tumors in the liver. Two chemotherapy protocols were administered in succession (first line: cyclophosphamide/vinblastine/dacarbazine; second line: cisplatin/docetaxel/ifomide). Despite these treatments, however, the tumors continued to progress. Treatment with sunitinib was initiated, but the patient quickly developed critical hypertension caused by tumor lysis syndrome. The sunitinib dose was reduced, and a partial response, as defined by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), was observed after 6 treatment cycles. Moreover, no severe adverse events occurred during this lower-dose sunitinib treatment. Unfortunately, sunitinib treatment became unaffordable for the patient, who eventually resorted to palliative care and died 37 months later. This case study is consistent with previous reports indicating that appropriate doses of sunitinib can induce a partial antitumor response in patients with refractory pheochromocytoma.

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