The Foundation Dedicated to Discovering a Cure for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Caring for Carcinoid Foundation

Definition

Pheochromocytoma is a rare form of neuroendocrine tumor that usually develops in the adrenal gland, but can also arise in other parts of the body. Pheochromocytomas produce excess amounts of adrenalin and related hormones, which are the "fight-or-flight" hormones usually released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. These hormones can cause a person to have elevated blood pressure (hypertension) and an increased heart rate. Patients with pheochromocytomas often have unusually severe or unexplained hypertension. Pheochromocytomas are also sometimes diagnosed when a tumor on the adrenal gland is observed during CT scans or other imaging performed for unrelated medical conditions.