(Cancer of the Adrenal Cortex; Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma; Adrenal Cancer)
|Anatomy of the Adrenal Glands|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Sex: female
- Children under 5 years old
- Adults between 40 to 50 years old
- A genetic defect may cause adrenocortical cancer in some children, but the majority of cases are non-hereditary
- Cushing’s syndrome (Hypercortisolism)—30% of cases—excess cortisol which helps the body respond to stressful situations and infections
- Conn’s syndrome (Hyperaldosteronism)—2% of cases—excess aldosterone, which helps the body maintain normal levels of sodium and potassium
- Virilization (20% of cases)—women with functional tumors that release males hormones; may deepen voice, cause hirsutism (growing excess hair on the face) , and swelling of the sex organs or breasts may occur
- A mixed Cushing’s syndrome and virilization accounts for 35% of all cases
- In young children with functional tumors that release sex hormones, these tumors may cause early onset of puberty
- Blood tests to look for hormones from the adrenal glands
- Urine tests (24 hour cortisol)
- Your doctor may need detailed pictures of the body. These can be made with:
Adrenalectomy Surgery to Remove the Tumor
is the drug most often used for this type of cancer. It blocks hormone production by the adrenal gland. It also destroys adrenal cancer cells. This drug does have serious side effects.
- Especially helpful in treating functional tumors of the adrenal cortex
- Other hormone blocking drugs may be given if mitotane does not work.
- Research of new drug and radiation therapies are under way. This includes gene and immunotherapy. Your doctor may advise you to participate in one of these trials.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
Abiven G, Coste J, Groussin L, et al. Clinical and biological features in the prognosis of adrenocortical cancer: poor outcome of cortisol-secreting tumors in a series of 202 consecutive patients. J Clin Endo & Metab . 2006;91:2650-55.
Adrenal cortical carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated August 8, 2012. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Adrenocortical carcinoma. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/adrenocortical . Accessed October 31, 2012.
Adrenocortical carcinoma: treatment statement for health professionals. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.meb.uni-bonn.de/cancer.gov/CDR0000062907.html . Updated October 23, 2012. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Allolio B, Fassnacht M. Adrencortical carcinoma: clinical update. J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2006;91:2027-37.
Detailed guide: adrenal cortical cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/CRI%5F2%5F3x.asp?dt=71 . Accessed October 31, 2012.
Kirschner LS. Review: emerging treatment strategies for adrnocortical carcinoma: a new hope. J Clin Endocinol Metab .2006;91:14-21.
Van Ditzhuijsen cI, van de Weijer R, Haak HR: Adrenocortical carcinoma. Neth J Med . 2007;65:55-60.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 10/2012 -
- Update Date: 10/31/2012 -