Paragangliomas are neuroendocrine tumours and those occurring in the head and neck have well recognized familial association. Retroperitoneal paragangliomas are uncommon and we present two cases of familial malignant retroperitoneal paraganglioma. Review of the literature revealed marked differences in the incidence and malignant potential of familial and non-familial paraganglioma. In contrast to the cases reported here, familial tumours are generally benign, though they may occur at multiple sites. Familial and non-familial paragangliomas may indeed be different disease entities.
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