Adrenal carcinoma: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2022 May 30;16(1):229. doi: 10.1186/s13256-022-03398-4.


Background: Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare malignancy (0.5-2 cases/million/year) with a poor prognosis. Hypercortisolism, virilization, and compressive features are among the common presentations of adrenocortical carcinoma. Hematuria is one of the rare initial presentations of adrenocortical carcinoma reported in the literature. We report a case of adrenal carcinoma presenting with microscopic hematuria.

Case presentation: A 67-year-old Sri Lankan patient with diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease presented with an acute coronary event. During the routine evaluation, microscopic hematuria was detected without proteinuria or active sediments. She denied any painful micturition, previous similar episodes, or abdominal pain. Further evaluation revealed a hypokalemia with biochemical evidence of hypercortisolism and high testosterone levels with suppressed adrenocorticotropic hormone levels. On imaging, there was evidence of a right suprarenal mass 7 cm × 3 cm × 6 cm in size that was hypoechoic and lobulated and suggestive of a lipid-poor tumor. She underwent adrenalectomy. By the time of surgery 3 weeks later, significant weight gain with features of Cushing syndrome, including hirsutism, skin atrophy, easy bruising without virilization, and proximal myopathy, were noted. Histology identified a right-sided adrenal tumor with capsular and vascular invasion. Hypercortisolism and hematuria disappeared after surgery. The patient was referred for further oncological management.

Conclusion: This case illustrates a rare presentation of adrenal carcinoma. Awareness of this presentation may facilitate early evaluation and management.

Keywords: Adrenal carcinoma; Cushing disease; Endocrine hypertension; Microscopic hematuria.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma* / diagnosis
  • Adrenocortical Carcinoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aged
  • Cushing Syndrome* / surgery
  • Female
  • Hematuria
  • Humans
  • Virilism