Retroperitoneal paragangliomas are relatively rare endocrine tumours derived from the extra-adrenal paraganglia of the autonomic nervous system. They can be functional when they secrete catecholamines or non-functional. The diagnosis of a paraganglioma is infrequently made preoperatively unless the tumour is functional. In this paper, the authors report a new case of non-functional paraganglioma. A 54-year-old woman with a past medical history of viral hepatitis, presented with vague abdominal pain of five years' duration. On examination, no abdominal mass was palpable and her blood pressure was 100/60 mm Hg. Abdominal computed tomography scan demonstrated a well-defined hypervascular retroperitoneal mass of heterogeneous density in the left para-aortic region measuring 3cm in diameter. As paraganglioma was suspected preoperatively, serum and urine cathecholamine levels were performed and were within normal range. Complete surgical excision of this mass was performed. Histological examination of the surgical specimen coupled with immunohistochemical study was consistent with the diagnosis of pararganglioma. Retroperitoneal paragangliomas are most commonly benign with good prognosis, but can be locally invasive and metastasize as well. The possibility for malignant transformation of paragangliomas makes surgical excision the treatment of choice.
paraganglioma, retroperitoneal tumour, non-functioning, immunohistochemistry.