Spin down within 2 hours of draw.
Plasma must be separated from red blood cells within 2 hours of collection.
Submit sample in a plastic vial.
Use of an Epi-pen within the last 7 days may produce inaccurate results.
While most circulating metanephrines are derived directly from adrenal secretion, peripheral conversion of catecholamines makes a small contribution. Therefore, substances that increase endogenous catecholamine levels can result in borderline elevations of plasma metanephrines. These include:
-Monamine oxidase inhibitors (MOIs-a class of antidepressants with marked effects on catecholamine levels, particularly if the patient consumes tyrosine-rich foods such as nuts, bananas, or cheese)
-Catecholamine reuptake inhibitors including cocaine and synthetic cocaine derivatives such as many local anesthetics, some of which also are antiarrhythmic drugs (eg, lidocaine)
-Some anesthetic gases, particularly halothane
-Withdrawal from sedative drugs, medical or recreational, in particular alcohol, benzodiazepines (eg, Valium), opioids, and some central acting antihypertensive drugs, particularly clonidine, but, generally not cannabis or other hallucinogens such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescal, or peyote
The observed elevations of plasma metanephrines are usually minor.
We are currently not aware of any substances that interfere directly in the assay.
Artifactually decreased plasma metanephrine levels may be observed when patients are already receiving metyrosine treatment. This drug may be administered in suspected or confirmed cases of pheochromocytoma while awaiting definitive treatment. It inhibits tyrosine hydroxylase, the enzyme that catalyzes the first step in catecholamine synthesis.
Pheochromocytoma is a rare, though potentially lethal, tumor of chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla that produces episodes of hypertension with palpitations, severe headaches, and sweating ("spells"). Patients with pheochromocytoma may also be asymptomatic and present with sustained hypertension or an incidentally discovered adrenal mass.
Pheochromocytomas and other tumors derived from neural crest cells (eg, paragangliomas and neuroblastomas) secrete catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine). Metanephrine and normetanephrine (collectively referred to as metanephrines) are the 3-methoxy metabolites of epinephrine and norepinephrine, respectively. The metanephrines are stable metabolites and are cosecreted directly with catecholamines by pheochromocytomas and other neural crest tumors. This results in sustained elevations in plasma free metanephrine levels, making them more sensitive and specific than plasma catecholamines in the identification of pheochromocytoma patients. Metanephrine and normetanephrine are both further metabolized to conjugated metanephrines and vanillylmandelic acid.