Estrogen receptor expression in adrenocortical carcinoma

J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2009 Jan;10(1):1-6. doi: 10.1631/jzus.B0820072.


Objective: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare but highly malignant tumor, and its diagnosis is mostly delayed and prognosis is poor. We report estrogen receptor (ER) expression in this tumor and our clinical experiences with 17 ACC cases.

Methods: The data of the 17 patients (9 females and 8 males, age range from 16 to 69 years, mean age of 42.6 years) with ACC were reviewed, and symptoms, diagnostic procedures, treatment, and results of follow-up were evaluated. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect ER expression in tumor samples from the 17 patients.

Results: At the time of diagnosis, 4 tumors were classified as Stage I, 4 as Stage II, 3 as Stage III, and 6 as Stage IV. Eight patients demonstrated positive nuclear immunostaining of ER. The prognosis of patients with ER positive was significantly better (P<0.05) than that of patients with ER negative, with 1- and 5-year survival rates at 86% and 60% for ER-positive patients, and 38% and 0% for ER-negative patients, respectively.

Conclusion: ER-positivity may be one of the factors associated with a worse prognosis of ACC.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • China
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Estrogen