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Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer

  • Synopsis: Published: 2009-04-01 (Rev. 2015-12-23) - Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer is a sub-type of adrenal cancer which shows virtually no cellular differentiation. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Sally Rider.
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Adrenocortical cancers (ACs) are uncommon malignancies that can have protean clinical manifestations. Adrenocortical masses are common; autopsy studies show that approximately 5-15% of the general adult population may have adrenal incidentalomas.

Adrenocortical Cancer Alternate Names:

  • Adrenal Carcinoma
  • Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer
  • Adrenocortical carcinoma
  • Adrenal cortical carcinoma (ACC)
  • Adrenal cortex cancer

Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer is a sub-type of adrenal cancer which shows virtually no cellular differentiation. It is not associated with overproduction of hormones as is seen in other types of adrenal carcinomas. Abdominal pain is a presenting symptom.

Regardless of size, approximately 1 per 1500 adrenal tumors is malignant. The evaluation of these incidentalomas, therefore, focuses on:

  • (1) identifying functional masses and treating them appropriately (including surgical removal)
  • (2) identifying adrenal carcinomas early, with the intent of attempting complete surgical extirpation
  • (3) reassuring the patients who do not fit either of these classes and arranging for their subsequent follow-up.

CT and MRI imaging are used in the diagnosis of adrenal lesions, but a biopsy is required for definite diagnosis.

Radical surgical excision is the treatment for individuals with localized malignancies and remains the only method by which long-term disease-free survival may be achieved.

Median survival for anaplastic adrenal cancer is 5 months as compared with a median survival of 40 months for differentiated adrenal cancers.

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