There are a variety of biochemical tests for the detection of phaeochromocytoma and functional (secretory) paraganglioma including catecholamines and their methylated metabolites (“metanephrines”; metanephrine and normetanephrine) and 3-methoxytyramine. Plasma, serum, or urine can be used.
We recommend following the Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guidelines for biochemical screening for paraganglioma/phaeochromocytoma:
- Measure plasma free or urinary fractionated metanephrines
- If appropriate also measure 3-methoxytyramine
- Collect plasma samples after the patient has rested in the seated position for 10 minutes
- In certain circumstances repeat sampling may be recommended by the referring clinician; if this occurs collection after 30 minutes of rest in the supine position may be appropriate
- If measuring plasma 3-methoxytyramine, sampling should be done after an overnight fast.
Link to advice for patients having tests to measure biogenic amines.