Plasma norepinephrine and epinephrine levels were measured before and after glucagon administration in 28 patients suspected of having a pheochromocytoma: three patients were subsequently found to have tumors. The norepinephrine response predicted the presence or absence of a tumor in 27 of the 28 patients. Epinephrine levels doubled, on the average, in patients who did not have pheochromocytomas, and were not useful in distinguishing the patients with or without tumors. A comparison of the response to glucagon and a placebo indicated that changes in plasma catecholamine levels were hormone-related and not the result of side-effects accompanying injection. The glucagon provocation test, with measurement of plasma norepinephrine and epinephrine levels, may be a useful adjunctive tool for evaluating patients suspected of having a pheochromocytoma when performed according to a standardized protocol and interpreted in relation to appropriate controls.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism