Temporary palliation of disseminated adrenocortical carcinomas can sometimes be achieved with the chemotherapeutic agent mitotane. Although measurable partial remissions are unusual and are reported in only 20% to 30% of cases, palliation of hormone symptoms is commonly observed. Prolonged treatment with mitotane, however, is often limited by gastrointestinal and neurologic toxicity. Local recurrences and selected sites of metastatic disease can sometimes be palliated surgically or with radiation therapy.[1,2]
Two other cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens are suggested to be effective and have been compared in a phase III trial:
Some believe that effective communication between doctor and patient is a core clinical skill that should be taught as rigorously as other medical sciences are taught. Underlying this belief is a growing body of research and development of guidelines acknowledging that physicians need not be born with excellent communication skills but can learn as they practice various other aspects of medicine.
Clinicians specializing in cancer acknowledge that insufficient training...
Etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin plus mitotane.
Furthermore, a substantial number of treated patients with functioning tumors will show diminution in hormone production. In cases of increased hormone production, antisteroidogenic drugs, such as ketoconazole and metyrapone, and steroid receptor antagonists, such as spironolactone and mifepristone, should be considered.
Clinical trials are appropriate and should be considered whenever possible because phase I and II trials evaluate newer chemotherapeutic and biologic agents.
Standard treatment options:
Chemotherapy with mitotane.
Chemotherapy with mitotane plus streptozotocin or mitotane plus etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin is used as part of the NCT00924144 phase III trial.
Radiation therapy to bone metastases.
Surgical removal of localized metastases, particularly those that are functioning.
Treatment options under clinical evaluation:
Several new agents are currently under investigation for unresectable adrenocortical cancer, including the following:
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IV adrenocortical carcinoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
Terzolo M, Ardito A, Zaggia B, et al.: Mitotane. In: Hammer GD, Else T, eds.: Adrenocortical Carcinoma: Basic Science and Clinical Concepts. New York, Springer, 2010, pp 369-82.
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September 04, 2014
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