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Cases J. 2009 Sep 10;2:8951. doi: 10.1186/1757-1626-0002-0000008951.

Adrenocortical carcinoma secreting cortisol, androgens and aldosterone: a case report.

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Endocrine Unit, Second Department of Internal Medicine-Propaedeutic, Research Institute and Diabetes Center, Athens University Medical School, 'Attikon' University Hospital, 1 Rimini Str, Athens, 12462, Greece.



Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare malignancy with a poor prognosis and presents with mass effects and less often with signs of hormone excess (approximately 60% of all adrenocortical carcinoma's). Hormonally active adrenocortical carcinomas most commonly secrete cortisol while the co-secretion of multiple steroid hormones is rare.


We report the case of a 59 year-old woman with a medical history of hyperaldosteronism due to a right adrenal adenoma. During follow up, she showed symptoms of hypercortisolism and hyperandrogenemia and a rapid growth of the adrenal mass. She underwent right adrenalectomy and the histology revealed the presence of an adrenocortical carcinoma. Six months post-operatively being on treatment with mitotane, she was diagnosed of metastatic disease to the liver. She underwent right hepatectomy and was started on systemic chemotherapy, with no signs of tumour recurrence during the following six months.


The hormonal status should be carefully investigated in all cases of suspected adrenocortical carcinoma, as the pattern of hormone secretion may be a clue to the malignancy of an adrenal lesion. In addition, more data are needed to clarify the clinical and prognostic significance of the combined production of all adrenocortical hormones affecting either the survival or the quality of life of adrenocortical carcinoma patients.

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