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Surgery. 1995 Dec;118(6):1090-8.

Surgical management, DNA content, and patient survival in adrenal cortical carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.



Surgical resection is the only potentially curative treatment for adrenal cortical carcinoma, yet the value of extended resection, palliative resection, and tumor DNA analysis remains unclear.


The records of 23 patients with adrenal cortical carcinoma who underwent primary surgical resection at our institution were retrospectively reviewed. Flow cytometric DNA analysis was performed on primary tumor tissue from 14 patients.


Sixteen of 23 patients underwent complete resection. For these 16 patients the median follow-up was 43 months, the actuarial median survival was 46 months, and the actuarial 5-year survival rate was 46%. The seven patients who underwent incomplete resection all died of disease with a median survival of 8.5 months. Isolated local recurrence as the first site of failure occurred in two patients. Only completeness of resection (p = 0.004) and stage at presentation (p = 0.006) were significant prognostic indicators. None of the following predicted a poor prognosis in patients who underwent complete resection: (1) need for extended resection, (2) presence of renal vein or inferior vena cava tumor thrombus, or (3) tumor aneuploidy (14 of 14 tumors were aneuploid).


Long-term survival is possible in patients with adrenal cortical carcinoma if complete, margin-negative tumor resection can be achieved. Isolated local recurrence is uncommon after complete resection. Because adrenal cortical carcinomas are consistently aneuploid, tumor DNA content is not a useful prognostic factor.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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