Skip to content

    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

    Overview

    This complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the use of laetrile as a treatment for people with cancer. The summary includes a history of laetrile research, a review of laboratory studies, the results of clinical trials, and possible side effects of laetrile use. This summary contains the following key information: Laetrile is another name for the chemical amygdalin, which is found in the pits of many fruits and in numerous plants. Cyanide...

    Read the Overview 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