Leptomeningeal Metastasis from Adrenocortical Carcinoma: A Case Report

J Endocr Soc. 2020 Feb 12;4(3):bvaa017. doi: 10.1210/jendso/bvaa017. eCollection 2020 Mar 1.


Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is an uncommon endocrine malignancy with limited treatment options. While the overall 5-year survival rate in patients with ACC is 35%, the disease is often rapidly progressive with long-term survival in only 5% of patients. Although tumor stage, grade, and excess hormonal activity predict unfavorable prognosis, additional biomarkers are needed to identify patients with aggressive disease. A 23-year-old woman presented with rapidly progressing signs and symptoms of Cushing's syndrome, with associated abdominal pain and fullness. Evaluation revealed a large left adrenal mass which had developed over 8 months. En bloc surgical resection was performed by an endocrine surgeon, and pathology revealed adrenocortical carcinoma with Ki67 of 60%. Despite adjuvant treatment with mitotane and etoposide-doxorubicin-carboplatin chemotherapy, the patient had rapid disease progression with metastatic spread to liver, lung, bone, brain, and leptomeningies, and she died 11 months after the initial diagnosis. Subsequent analysis of the patient's tumor revealed mutations in TP53 and MEN1. RNA sequencing was compared against the the Cancer Genome Atlas data set and clustered with the high steroid, proliferative subtype, associated with the worst prognosis. The tumor also demonstrated a low BUB1B/PINK1 ratio and G0S2 hypermethylation, both predictive of very aggressive ACC. This case represents a subset of ACC characterized by rapid and fatal progression. Clinically available predictors as well as recently reported molecular signatures and biomarkers correlated with this tumor's aggressiveness, suggesting that development and validation of combinations of biomarkers may be useful in guiding personalized approaches to patients with ACC.

Keywords: adrenocortical carcinoma; leptomeningeal metastasis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports