Adrenocortical tumor manifesting as virilizing in a female child: Adenoma or carcinoma? A rare case report

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2024 Jun 6:120:109878. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2024.109878. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Adrenocortical tumors (ACTs) are rare endocrine neoplasms in children, with functional ACTs being more prevalent than non-functional types. Clinical manifestations typically include virilization, Cushing's syndrome, and hyperaldosteronism. Surgical intervention is the primary treatment for ACTs, with a significant risk of recurrence in adrenocortical carcinoma even after complete resection.

Presentation of case: This case presentation describes a 3.5-year-old female with generalized hirsutism and clitoral hypertrophy, leading to the discovery of a left adrenal tumor. The child underwent adrenalectomy, revealing a benign adrenal cortical adenoma. Unfortunately, due to loss of follow-up, the child later presented with pulmonary metastases and passed away, preventing further investigation into the source of metastases.

Discussion: Adrenocortical tumors are uncommon in children, with the classification of ACTs into adenomas and carcinomas. To our knowledge, this is the third case of an adrenocortical tumor in a child in Syria. We highlight the challenges in managing pediatric ACTs and emphasize the importance of timely intervention and close monitoring to improve outcomes. Regular follow-up is crucial to detect complications early and optimize treatment strategies, especially considering the unpredictable behavior of these tumors.

Conclusion: This case confirms that distinguishing between adrenocortical adenoma and carcinoma can be challenging even histologically. Therefore, it is necessary to follow up after treating each case of adenoma in a child to prevent major complications.

Keywords: Adrenocortical adenomas; Adrenocortical carcinomas; Adrenocortical tumors; Case report; Pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Case Reports