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April 1991

Recurrent or Metastatic Disease in Select Patients With Adrenocortical CarcinomaAggressive Resection vs Chemotherapy

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Metabolism Section and the Thoracic Oncology Section, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Surg. 1991;126(4):457-461. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1991.01410280059008

• In a retrospective, nonrandomized comparison of patients with first recurrence of adrenocortical cancer, 18 patients were treated with chemotherapy (primarily mitotane) and 15 patients were treated with surgical resection plus similar chemotherapy. Surgical resection of recurrent adrenocortical cancer was often extensive, with morbidity in 20% of patients and no mortality. Mitotane therapy was ineffective at controlling tumor growth. Median survival from the time of diagnosis for all patients was only 23 months and no patient was cured. Disease-free interval greater than 12 months was associated with prolonged survival, but it only occurred in six patients (18%), with a similar frequency in both treatment groups. Surgical resection of recurrent disease was associated with prolonged survival from the time of first recurrence. The potential benefit of this resection was evident in the 5 patients (33%) who were able to live greater than 5 years from the time of first recurrence with improvement in symptoms and signs of hypercortisolism. Although no patient with recurrent adrenal cancer could be cured, resection of recurrent disease was associated with a slight prolongation of survival and good palliation of Cushing's syndrome.

(Arch Surg. 1991;126:457-461)