[Skip to Content]

Upstate hosts International Pheo/Para Conference Nov. 6, 7

Upstate hosts International Pheo/Para Conference Nov. 6, 7

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- The Upstate Cancer Center and Upstate Urology Department will host the Pheochromocytoma and Paragnaglioma (pheo/para) 2015 International Conference  Nov. 6 and 7 on the campus of Upstate Medical University.

Experts will speak on various topics related to pheo/para, including pediatric management of pheo/para, modern imaging, genetic implications and general wellness for pheo/para patients.

Among those participating in the conference is John H. Sipple, MD, whose pioneering work in this field led to the naming of Sipple Syndome, a neoplastic disease, characterized by a triad of medullary thyroid carcinoma, pheochromocytoma, and parathyroid hyperplasia or adenoma, in association with elevated calcitonin and catecholamine levels. Other neoplasms found in this syndrome may include glioblastomas and meningiomas.

Pheo/para are neuroendocrine tumors that can present challenges to treat and diagnose. The incidence of pheo/para is two to eight per million people per year, with cases occurring in both men and women, and equally across all races. Many patients present with one adrenal tumor, which is removed and the cause is not determined. In rarer cases, the tumors are recurrent. Of patients with recurrent disease, 50 percent will experience distance metastasis. The five-year survival rate for those patients is 40 to 45 percent.

“This conference provides an opportunity for the research, physician and patient populations to be together in the same room, discussing where we are and where we are going in regards to treating pheo/para,” said Matthew Capogreco, program and events coordinator of the Upstate Cancer Center. “This conference will do more than just scratch the surface. We’ve gathered an incredible group of speakers and will have both expert and patient panels. I think attendees will leave this event better informed and with a clearer path moving forward.”

In 1959, Sipple, then a third-year medical student, was the first to suggest an association between pheochromocytoma and carcinoma of the thyroid gland. Sipple, who did his residency at Upstate, later joined the clinical faculty. Sipple Syndrome became listed as MEN2 as a result of more recent research.

The conference keynote presentation, State of the Art Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Developments for 2015, will be given by Karel Packak, MD, a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health. Other presentations include What every Primary Doctor Needs to Know About Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma, Nutrition Advice and Advancements and Genetic Implications For Pheo/Para.

There are no known environmental, dietary or lifestyle risk factors for pheo/para, but in many cases there is a family history. In some patients, these tumors can cause cardiac arrest, stroke or dangerous surges of adrenaline in intense situations like surgery or severe injury.

Common symptoms of pheo/para are:

- Heart palpitations

- Racing heart rate, even while resting

- High blood pressure

- Excessive sweating

- Attacks similar to panic/anxiety attacks (these may occur in response to exercise or for no apparent reason)

- Chest/abdominal pain

- Headache

- Vomiting

- Fever

- Pallor

- Flushing

- Muscle weakness

Although the causes of pheo/para are unknown, there are multiple avenues for treatment available. Surgery to remove tumors completely is preferable, but requires weeks of preparation to ensure that the patient can safely have the tumor removed. Treatment options also include radiotherapy, radio frequency ablation, transarterial embolization, 1-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine, cytoxic chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy.

A complete conference schedule, can he found here.

For more information about the conference, contact Matthew Capogreco at 315-464-3605.