We describe the clinical presentation, biochemical features, diagnostic criteria, clinical course and differential diagnosis in three cases of feminizing adreno-cortical carcinoma (FACC) with a review of the literature.
Patients: From 1970 throughout December 2003 among a series of 801 adrenalectomies, three had been performed for FACC.
Results: Age at presentation was 74, 63 and 23 years. Estradiol hypersecretion was observed in 3/3 patients, 17 OH progesterone was elevated in 2/3 patients and both of them had a diminution of testosterone, delta 4 androstenedione was elevated in 1/3 patients. Imaging studies suggested malignancy in 3/3 patients by the presence of necrosis, heterogeneity, calcifications, size of the tumor and compression of adjacent organs. All patients were stage III at presentation and had a Weiss score >or=6. Size and weight of the tumors were 30, 20, 15cm and 3750, 480 and 275g respectively. All 3 patients received mitotane and cortisone post-operatively and at follow up (7, 3 and 2 years) all 3 died of the disease.
Conclusions: Feminizing adreno-cortical carcinomas in adults are exceedingly rare (1-2% of adreno-cortical carcinomas). Tumors are huge and even after surgery for cure their prognosis is worse than for other varieties of adreno-cortical carcinomas either secreting or non secreting. Early diagnosis and treatment may improve overall prognosis.