Adrenocortical carcinoma in the United States: treatment utilization and prognostic factors

Cancer. 2008 Dec 1;113(11):3130-6. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23886.


Background: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare tumor with a relatively poor prognosis. The authors' objectives were to examine treatment utilization and factors associated with long-term survival after resection of ACC in a large, national, patient population.

Methods: Patients diagnosed with ACC from 1985 to 2005 were identified from the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB). Patient, tumor, treatment, and hospital factors associated with survival after resection were examined.

Results: For the current study, 3982 patients with ACC were identified. Median age at diagnosis was 55 years. Median tumor size was 13 cm. Of the patients with nodes examined, 26.5% had nodal metastases. Distant metastases were found on presentation in 21.6% of patients. A total of 57.4% of patients underwent surgical resection alone, whereas 16.0% underwent resection with adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation. A total of 19.4% had margin-positive resections. Treatment utilization remained unchanged from 1985 to 2005 (P = .28). Median follow-up was 24 months. Overall 5-year survival for all patients who underwent resection was 38.6% (median survival, 31.9 months). Multivariable analysis demonstrated a higher risk of death with increasing age, poorly differentiated tumors, involved margins, and nodal or distant metastases. Overall survival remained unchanged from 1985 to 2000 (P = .08).

Conclusions: ACC carries a poor prognosis for patients commonly presenting with large, locally invasive tumors, involved margins, and metastatic disease. Survival is not affected by size but is diminished with increasing age, poorly differentiated tumors, involved margins, and the presence of regional and distant disease. Identification of novel therapies may help to increase survival, which has remained unchanged over the last 20 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / pathology
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / surgery
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / pathology
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / surgery
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States