SDHB refers to an inherited genetic condition that can result in the development of tumors called pheochromocytomas or paragangliomas. These tumors are notable for their capacity to produce catecholamines, which are substances that can raise blood pressure and heart rate.
SDHB is part of a family of conditions related to mutations in the components of the SDH complex of proteins. These proteins perform important functions in the body under normal conditions related to metabolism. Mutations in other components (SDHA, SDHC and SDHD) can also result in the formation of tumors. However, what sets SDHB apart is that the tumors that form as a result of this mutation can be much more aggressive.
SDHB related pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are more likely to spread to distant sites, metastasize and more likely to return after they have been removed.
Currently, surgery is the only definitive treatment. There are no effective therapies beyond surgery at the present time to cure this condition or prevent the tumors from spreading or returning.
It is critical that research continue in order to better understand this disease and develop effective therapies. Because SDHB as well as the other SDH conditions are rare, federal funding does not focus much on this disease and therefore it is imperative that research be supported through additional means including private donations and philanthropic grants.