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July 17, 2002

Imaging vs Biochemical Testing for Pheochromocytoma

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;288(3):314-315. doi:10.1001/jama.288.3.311

To the Editor: Dr Lenders and colleagues1 concluded that measurement of plasma free metanephrines has a 99% sensitivity for pheochromocytoma, and thus a negative test result virtually excludes this diagnosis. The main problem of this study is that there was no criterion standard to rule out pheochromocytoma in at least 98 of the 644 patients in the "pheochromocytoma excluded" group, and several other patients only had computed tomography. By contrast, we found that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has a high sensitivity of 97% for this diagnosis.2