Longitudinal Patterns of Recurrence in Patients With Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Surgery. 2019 Jan;165(1):186-195. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2018.04.068. Epub 2018 Oct 19.


Background: Patterns and prognostic implications of recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma are poorly understood. In this study, we aim to describe temporal and spatial patterns of adrenocortical carcinoma recurrence.

Methods: This is a retrospective review of 576 patients with adrenocortical carcinoma evaluated at a single institution. Clinicopathologic and follow-up data were collected longitudinally.

Results: A total of 354 patients underwent resection of stage I-III adrenocortical carcinoma. We found that 249 (70%) patients developed disease recurrence. The median recurrence-free interval after primary resection was 11 months. The most common sites of initial recurrence were lung and tumor bed. The shortest time to recurrence was associated with lung or multiple site metastases. We found that 142 of 249 patients developed one or more additional sites of recurrence (median 5 months), most commonly involving the lungs. A total of 20 patients developed a third site of recurrence. We found that 100 patients underwent one or more reoperations or metastasectomies and 79 recurred again after reoperation. Same organ or site recurrence was common after reoperation (67%). Although lung metastases occurred early, recurrences to the peritoneal cavity or to multiple sites were associated with worse survival. Metastasectomy beyond three total operations did not improve overall survival.

Conclusion: Survival varies according to site of recurrence and other clinicopathologic factors. Knowledge of patterns of recurrence may assist in anticipating disease course and lead to better informed selection of treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / pathology
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / therapy
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / pathology
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma / therapy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metastasectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult