Background: Use of laparoscopy for isolated adrenal metastases is controversial. The aims of this study were to characterize patients with isolated adrenal metastases; compare operative characteristics of the laparoscopic adrenalectomy (LA) versus open adrenalectomy (OA) approach; and compare long-term oncological and surgical outcomes.
Methods: Our adrenal resection database (1995-2006) identified 63 OA and 31 LA cases done for isolated adrenal metastases. Subset analysis was performed for all patients from isolated lung metastases (n = 39) and for all tumors smaller than 4.5 cm (n = 49).
Results: Overall, local recurrence was 17%, median survival 30 months and 5-year estimated survival 31%. The only independent predictor of survival for all (n = 94) was adrenal tumor size less than 4.5 cm (P = 0.01). When comparing LA with OA, no differences in local recurrence, margin status, disease-free interval or overall survival were observed for the entire group, or for patients with metastases only from lung cancer (n = 39) or for those with tumors smaller than 4.5 cm (n = 49). LA provided significantly shorter operative time (175 vs 208 min, P = 0.04), lower estimated blood loss (EBL) (106 vs 749 cc, P < 0.0001), shorter length of hospital stay (2.8 vs 8.0 days, P < 0.0001) and fewer total complications (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: LA is equivalent to OA in terms of margin status, local recurrence, disease-free interval and overall survival. LA for metastatic adrenal lesions is safe, with equivalent long-term oncological outcomes providing the additional benefits of a minimally invasive technique. LA can be recommended as an appropriate initial approach for isolated adrenal metastases.