Feminizing adreno-cortical carcinomas in male adults. A dire prognosis. Three cases in a series of 801 adrenalectomies and review of the literature

Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2006 Mar;67(1):32-8. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4266(06)72537-9.


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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / blood
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Adrenalectomy*
  • Adult
  • Androgens / blood
  • Estrogens / blood
  • Feminization / etiology*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Androgens
  • Estrogens
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone