Paraganglioma

Paragangliomas, sometimes called glomus tumours, are slow growing tumours arising from non-chromaffin paraganglion cells that are scattered throughout the body from the base of skull to the urinary bladder.

Paragangliomas are sometimes referred to as glomus tumours although this gives rise to confusion with glomangioma, a tumour of the glomus body in the skin and soft tissues and should thus be avoided.

Paragangliomas can occur from the base of skull to the pelvis, anywhere there are paraganglia, and are divided according to their location. These are discussed separately, as their imaging features, clinical presentation and treatment are to some degree location dependent. 

Microscopic appearance

All paragangliomas consist two types of cells; type I and type II. The main components are lobules or nests of chief cells (type I); these structures are known as Zellballen. They are surrounded by a single layer of sustentacular cells (type II) 8.

Immunophenotype

Immunohistochemical examination confirms neuroendocrine differentiation of chief cells (type I) 5

Sustentacular cells (type II):

  • S100: usually positive
  • GFAP: usually positive
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Article information

rID: 1843
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Paraganglioma
  • Glomus tumour
  • Paragangliomas
  • Paraganglioma : general
  • Glomus tumours

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: histology - carotid body tumour
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    Case 1: DSA
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    Cb Trecon
    Case 2: carotid body tumour
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    Case 3: glomus jugulare
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    Adrenal Phaeochro...
    Case 4: adrenal phaeochromocytoma
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    Case 5: spinal - unusual location
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    Case 6: paraduodenal
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    Case 7
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