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January 1980

Functioning Tumors

Author Affiliations

The Children's Hospital of Buffalo 219 Bryant St Buffalo, NY 14222

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(1):14-15. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130130006002

It was 1952 when Hawfield and Daisley1 described in detail the clinical picture and the diagnostic evaluation of the condition of a 13-month-old girl with severe chronic diarrhea, whose abnormal stools ceased promptly after removal of a ganglioneuroma from the right adrenal gland. They wrote, "Laboratory efforts to identify an endocrine function of the tumor removed in this case failed to reveal any functional secretion. Despite this fact, the clinical improvement indicates beyond a doubt that the tumor did have an endocrine function and was responsible for the presenting signs and symptoms."

Seven years later, Dicke and co-workers2 and Greenberg and Gardner3 simultaneously reported evidence of increased catecholamine production in patients with ganglioneuroma and chronic diarrhea. Since the urinary excretion of the various compounds returned to normal after excision of the tumor, the catecholamines were believed to be important in the cause of the diarrhea, although the