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November 1955

Bilateral Adrenalectomy in the Treatment of Cancer of the Breast

Author Affiliations

From the Ben May Laboratory for Cancer Research of the University of Chicago.

AMA Arch Surg. 1955;71(5):645-657. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1955.01270170003002

The treatment of mammary cancer by endocrine methods rests on the concept of hormonal dependence, which characterizes many of these neoplasms. It has been shown that some methods of alterations in endocrine balance can constitute effective palliation in many cases. Surgical castration and administration of sex steroids have been used as the chief therapeutic armamentarium for metastatic cancer of the breast in the past decade and a half. In 1951 an important method of treatment of the disease was introduced by the finding that in certain types of mammary cancer there is an adrenal component which sustains and propagates the disease.1 Surgical excision of the adrenal glands in patients maintained on cortisone has proved to be effective in producing regression of mammary cancer in certain cases.*

In his Hunterian lecture Cade11 commented, "Bilateral adrenalectomy is an encouragement in the pursuit of an ideal which is to control cancer

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