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Surgery. 2006 Dec;140(6):914-20; discussion 919-20. Epub 2006 Oct 19.

Outcomes of adrenal cortical carcinoma in the United States.

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  • 1Division of Gastrointestinal and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC 28203, USA.



Improvements in the sensitivity of radiographic imaging have lead to an increase in the number of adrenal masses diagnosed. The purpose of this study is to determine if technologic advancements have resulted in the diagnosis of earlier-staged adrenal cortical cancer (ACC) and to determine if the survival of patients with ACC has improved over the past 15 years.


Patients with ACC were identified in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database between 1988 and 2002. Changes in demographics, stage, size, and treatment were analyzed by standard statistical testing.


We identified 602 patients with a mean age of 53 years and an average tumor size of 11.8 cm. Two hundred thirty-eight (39.5%) patients presented with localized disease (stages I and II), and 311 (52%) patients presented with advanced disease (stages III and IV). The comparison of smaller lesions and number of patients were 5 to 6 cm in 24 (4%) patients, 4 to 5 cm in 27 (4.5%) patients, and <4 cm in 19 (3.1%) patients. Patients with masses less than 5 cm were statistically more likely to have localized disease (P <. 001). Age (P = .10), tumor size (P = .85), tumor stage (P = .45), and 5-year survival (P = .5) did not change over the 15-year study.


Over the 15-year study, patients with ACC were not diagnosed at an earlier stage or with tumors smaller, and survival did not improve.

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