Surveillance of succinate dehydrogenase gene mutation carriers: Insights from a nationwide cohort

Raquel G. Martins, Nuno Cunha, Helder Simões, Maria João Matos, João Silva, Isabel Torres, Fernando Rodrigues, Valeriano Leite, Manuel R. Teixeira, Maria João Bugalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Mutations in the genes coding for succinate dehydrogenase (SDHx) are the most frequent germline alterations in pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Evidence for the advantages associated with presymptomatic screening for SDHx mutation carriers is scarce. This study describes a nationwide cohort of these mutation carriers and aims to compare patients with clinical manifestations of the disease and those diagnosed through genetic screening. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. Patients: SDHx mutation carriers (n = 118) followed through the Portuguese Oncology referral centres: 41 probands and 77 nonprobands. Measurements: All participants were subjected to biochemical and body imaging examinations for a complete assessment of the extent and spread of disease. Clinical data obtained this way were further analysed. Results: The mean age of this cohort was 44.5 ± 17.4 years, and more than half carried the same founder SDHB mutation. About 50.8% of the mutation carriers developed pheochromocytomas or paragangliomas. Compared to patients diagnosed through genetic screening, those diagnosed clinically were characterized by larger tumours (P <.001), more frequent metastases (P =.024), were more frequently subjected to surgery (P =.011) and radiotherapy (P =.013), and had worse outcomes, such as macroscopic positive margins (P =.034). Persistent and/or unresectable disease and disease-related mortality were also more frequent in symptomatic patients compared to those diagnosed through genetic screening (P =.014). Conclusions: In this nationwide cohort study, a large proportion of mutation carriers were found to develop SDHx-related neoplasia. Genetic testing and subsequent follow-up resulted in the diagnosis of smaller and nonmetastatic tumours, fewer treatment procedures, fewer complications and greater number of disease-free patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • cross-sectional cohort study
  • paraganglioma
  • pheochromocytoma
  • presymptomatic screening
  • SDHx mutations


Dive into the research topics of 'Surveillance of succinate dehydrogenase gene mutation carriers: Insights from a nationwide cohort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this