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Surgery. 1992 Dec;112(6):972-9; discussion 979-80.

Adrenocortical carcinoma in surgically treated patients: a retrospective study on 156 cases by the French Association of Endocrine Surgery.

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Department of Surgery, Hôpital Cochin, Paris, France.



Because of the rarity of adrenocortical carcinoma, survival rates and prognosis for patients who have undergone operation are not well known. The purpose of the French Association of Endocrine Surgery was to evaluate these factors in all patients treated during a 12-year period by its members.


One hundred fifty-six patients (95 women, 61 men) with a mean age of 47 years were included. Functional symptoms were found in 52% of patients, and hormonal studies revealed secreting tumors in 62% of cases. Ninety-four percent of the patients underwent resection of the adrenal tumor, and 20% of them had extensive resection because of invasive cancers. Complete resection was achieved in 127 patients (81%) and incomplete resection in 29 patients. Mean tumor weight was 714 gm (range, 12 to 4750 gm), and the mean diameter was 12 cm (range, 3 to 30 cm). The results of the tumor staging were stage I, eight patients (5%); stage II (local disease), 75 patients (48%); stage III (locoregional disease), 39 patients (25%); and stage IV (metastases), 34 patients (22%).


The 5-year actuarial survival rates were 34% overall, 42% in curative group, 53% in local cancer group, 24% in regional disease group, and 27% in the reoperated group. One-year actuarial survival rate of the palliative group was 9% (median survival, 6 months). Multivariate analysis showed that better prognosis occurred in patients younger than 35 years of age (p = 0.01) and in patients with androgen-secreting tumors, precursor-secreting tumors, or nonsecreting tumors (p = 0.003). Mitotane improved the survival rate only in patients with metastases who received it after operation (vs non-mitotane-treated patients [p < 0.05]).


In this study age, extent of disease, aspect of the surgical resection, and type of hormonal secretion influenced survival.

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