Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Adrenocortical Carcinoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Incidence and Mortality

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare tumor that affects only 0.72 persons per one million population.[1] Although it mainly occurs in adults, children can be affected, too. The median age at diagnosis is 46 years. Historically, only about 30% of these malignancies are confined to the adrenal gland at the time of diagnosis.[2] However, recently, more ACCs have been diagnosed at early states, most likely due to the widespread use of high-quality imaging techniques.

Recommended Related to Cancer

Top Cancer News of 2008: Readers' Choice

Celebrities facing cancer. The potential health threats caused by everyday items such moisturizers, countertops, and cell phones. These topics were among the 10 most viewed cancer news stories on WebMD for 2008. Patrick Swayze Has Pancreatic Cancer Christina Applegate's Mastectomy: FAQ Granite Countertops a Recipe for Danger? Moisturizers Up Skin Cancer in Mice Sen. Ted Kennedy Has Brain Cancer Symptoms Warn of Ovarian...

Read the Top Cancer News of 2008: Readers' Choice article > >

Prognostic Factors

Retrospective studies have identified the following three important prognostic factors:[3]

  • Completeness of resection.
  • Stage of disease.
  • Pathological grade.

Patients who have low-grade tumors without evidence of invasion into local tissues or spread to lymph nodes have an improved prognosis. The role of other prognostic indicators is controversial.

Clinical Features

In approximately 60% of patients, symptoms related to excessive hormone secretion are the main reasons for seeking medical attention. Biochemical hormone testing reveals that up to 80% of tumors are functioning. The second most common symptoms at time of initial presentation are unspecific abdominal symptoms, such as abdominal pain or fullness. A small percentage of ACCs is incidentally discovered by imaging studies conducted for reasons other than potential adrenal disease.

Diagnosis

Initial evaluation should include careful endocrine studies to reveal any excessive hormone production by the tumor, which can serve as a tumor marker during therapy. Staging should include imaging of the primary site by computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging of the abdomen. In addition, a CT of the chest is necessary to assess potential lung metastasis. Although the use of positron emission tomography may be effective in identifying unsuspected sites of metastases, its role as a staging tool is unclear. The detection of metastatic lesions may allow effective palliation of both functioning and nonfunctioning lesions.

Prognosis and Survival

The most common sites of metastases are the lung, liver, peritoneum, and less commonly, the bones and major veins. Palliation of metastatic functioning tumors may be achieved by resection of both the primary tumor and metastatic lesions. Unresectable or widely disseminated tumors may be palliated by adrenolytic therapy with mitotane antihormonal drugs (i.e., ketoconazole and metyrapone), systemic chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy. However, 5-year survival for patients with stage IV tumors is usually less than 20%.[2]

1 | 2
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article