Late adrenal metastasis in operable non-small-cell lung carcinoma

Am J Clin Oncol. 2002 Feb;25(1):81-3. doi: 10.1097/00000421-200202000-00017.


Treatment of early-stage (I, II, and some IIIA) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is curative resection. Simultaneous isolated adrenal metastasis represents a dilemma. Although many studies addressing the management of adrenal metastasis diagnosed simultaneously with NSCLC have been published, only very few reports of late adrenal metastasis can be found in the literature. Our purpose is to discuss the management of solitary late (metachronous) adrenal metastasis from operable NSCLC based on published experience. We describe a patient with a solitary metachronous adrenal metastasis diagnosed 3 years after resection of NSCLC. Adrenalectomy was done, followed by combination chemotherapy with paclitaxel and carboplatin. MEDLINE literature on similar cases was reviewed and updated. Only 18 cases have been reported from 1965 to 2000. The median interval between the diagnosis of NSCLC and development of adrenal metastasis was 11.5 months. All patients were male. Unilateral adrenal metastases were reported in 15 patients, whereas 3 had bilateral metastases. Five patients were treated with adrenalectomy, and eight patients were treated with adrenalectomy and postoperative adjunctive chemotherapy. Chemotherapy alone was used in two patients and two patients underwent palliative radiation therapy. One patient was treated with intraarterial chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy. Solitary metachronous adrenal metastases are rare. There are no standard treatment guidelines for this group of patients. Review of the literature showed that median survival after treatment was 19 months for the group treated with adrenalectomy followed by chemotherapy; 15 months for the chemotherapy group; 14 months for the adrenalectomy group; and 8 months for the group treated with palliative radiation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / therapy
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / therapy
  • Pneumonectomy