Adrenocortical carcinoma is a cancer of the
Tumor – adrenal
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Adrenocortical carcinoma is most common in children younger than 5 and adults in their 30s and 40s.
Adrenocortical carcinoma may be linked to a cancer syndrome that is passed down through families (inherited). Both men and women can develop this tumor.
Adrenocortical carcinoma can produce the hormones cortisol, aldosterone, estrogen, or testosterone, as well as other hormones. In women the tumor often releases these hormones, which can lead to male characteristics.
The cause is unknown. About 2 people per million develop this type of tumor.
Symptoms that suggest increased cortisol or other adrenal gland hormone production:
- Fatty, rounded hump high on the back just below the neck (
- Flushed rounded face with pudgy cheeks (
moon face) Obesity
- Stunted growth in height (
short stature) Virilization– the appearance of male characteristics, including increased body hair (especially on the face), pubic hair, acne, deepening of voice, and enlarged clitoris (girls)
Symptoms that suggest increased aldosterone production are the same as symptoms of low potassium and include:
Signs and tests
The doctor or nurse will examine you. You may have
ACTHlevel will be low. Aldosteronelevel will be high. Cortisollevel will be high. Potassiumlevel will be low.
- Male or female hormones may be abnormally high.
Imaging tests may include:
Abdominal x-ray CT scan of the abdomen MRI of the abdomen
Primary treatment is surgery to remove the tumor. Adrenocortical carcinoma may not improve with
The outcome depends on how early the diagnosis is made and whether the tumor has spread (metastasized). Tumors that have spread usually lead to death within 1 to 3 years.
The tumor can spread to the liver, bone, lung, or other areas.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you or your child has symptoms of adrenocortical carcinoma,