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Dis Colon Rectum. 1997 Sep;40(9):1023-8.

Adrenal masses in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.

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  • 1Department of Colorectal Surgery, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.



The aims of this study were 1) to report the characteristics and the clinical outcome of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) patients with adrenal masses in the FAP registry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and 2) to estimate the prevalence of adrenal masses detected by computed tomography in FAP patients compared with that expected in a normal population.


A retrospective review was undertaken of the FAP registry database at our institution. Only 738 patients treated at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation were included in the study. A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the relative risk of adrenal incidentaloma in this series of FAP patients and in a general population as reported in the four largest pertinent studies published in the past 15 years.


Fifteen patients (11 females) were identified. Two patients had symptoms related to cortisol hypersecretion (arterial hypertension) and underwent surgery. The final pathology was adrenocortical carcinoma and bilateral nodular hyperplasia. Adrenal masses were found incidentally (incidentalomas) in 13 patients: 12 were detected by computed tomography and one during laparotomy for total abdominal colectomy. Only one patient underwent left adrenalectomy for a 5-cm mass. Pathologic report revealed adrenocortical adenoma. Among the 738 patients considered in this study, only 162 underwent abdominal computed tomographic scan, mainly for assessing intra-abdominal desmoid. The prevalence of incidentaloma in our series compared with that reported in the literature is significantly different (7.4 vs. 0.6-3.4 percent; P < 0.001 (chi-squared test)).


Although the presence of other extracolonic manifestations represents a selection bias for computed tomographic study in our series, the incidence of incidentalomas in FAP patients seems to be higher than in a general population. However, incidental detection of an adrenal mass in FAP patients has probably a limited clinical relevance, and the management should be the same as that for the normal population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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