Iodine -131 metaiodobenzylguanidine is an effective treatment for malignant pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma

Shawn D. Safford, R. Edward Coleman, Jon P. Gockerman, Joseph Moore, Jerome M. Feldman, George S. Leight, Douglas S. Tyler, John A. Olson, Robert Udelsman, Ashok R. Shaha, Ronald J. Weigel, Geoffrey B. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Introduction. Iodine 131-meta-iodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) has been applied to the palliative treatment of metastatic pheochromocytoma in small studies. We report our institutional experience for the treatment of metastatic pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. Methods. We performed a retrospective review of 33 patients with metastatic pheochromocytoma (n = 22) and paraganglioma (n = 11) treated at our institution with 131I-MIBG over a 10-year period. Results. Patients received a mean dose of 388 ± 131 mCi 131I-MIBG. Median survival after treatment was 4.7 years. Most patients experienced a symptomatic response leading to an improved survival (4.7 years vs 1.8 years, P < .01). Patients with a measurable hormone response demonstrated an increased survival in comparison to those with no response (4.7years vs 2.6years, P = .01). Patients who received a high dose (>500 mCi) as their initial therapy also had improved survival (3.8 years vs 2.8 years, P = .02). Conclusion. These data support 131I-MIBG treatment for select patients with metastatic pheochromocytoma. In our experience, prolonged survival was best predicted by symptomatic and hormone response to 131I-MIBG treatment. An initial dose of 500 mCi may be optimal The benefit of 131I-MIBG treatment for metastatic pheochromocytoma must also be weighed against its side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-962
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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