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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2019 Apr;45(4):631-634. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2019.01.006. Epub 2019 Jan 4.

Survival outcomes following adrenalectomy for isolated metastases to the adrenal gland.

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Department of General Surgery, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, 1345 Govan Road, Glasgow, G51 4TF, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Department of General Surgery, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, 1345 Govan Road, Glasgow, G51 4TF, United Kingdom.



Adrenal metastases can arise from different primary sites. Surgical resection of the adrenal gland in patients with isolated metastases may offer improved survival in many of these patients. However, the benefit of surgery in this heterogenous group is often disputed. The aim of this study was to identify patients undergoing adrenalectomy for isolated metastases and to describe survival outcomes based on origin of the primary malignancy.


Patients undergoing surgery for isolated adrenal metastases were retrospectively analysed from a prospectively kept database. Data collected included the age of the patient, gender, size and functional status of the tumour and the site of the primary malignancy. Overall survival and survival based on the primary tumour were calculated using Kaplan-Meier survival analyses.


42 patients were included for analysis. The median tumour size was 40 mm. 91% (n = 38) of operations were performed laparoscopically. Metastases were from the following primary organs: kidney (n = 22), lung (n = 11), breast (n = 2), gastric (n = 1), skin (n = 3), liver (n = 2) and neuroendocrine (n = 1). Overall median survival was 56 (19-93) months with 95% of patients followed up for >6 months. There was a significant difference in median survival between primary organs of origin: 83(42-123), 14(9-18), 15 and 12(3-20) months (p < 0.05) for kidney, lung, breast and skin respectively.


There is a potential survival benefit for patients undergoing surgery for isolated adrenal metastases; however this survival benefit is greater in patients undergoing resection for metastases arising from kidney primaries. A selective approach should be adopted to identify patients that will clearly benefit from surgery.


Adrenal; Laparoscopy; Metastases; Outcomes; Survival

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