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Cancer Genetics

Adrenal Gland Carcinoma

09/17/1999

Question:

Do you any information on Adeno Gland Carcinoma?

Answer:

I`m not certain what you are requesting with your question. Let me give you two options.

1) An adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer as determined by a pathologist using a microscope. It is an overgrowth of cells which normally produce a protein for secretion to surrounding areas. Adenocarcinomas can arise from any number of organs including breast, lung, and colon.

2) Or is your question about Adrenal Gland Carcinoma? We each have two adrenal glands which typically are perched on top of each kidney. The adrenal gland produces a number of different hormones, one of which is epinephrine (also known as adrenalin). The adrenal gland has two layers. The outer layer is the cortex and the inner layer is the medulla. The adrenal cortex may develop a specific type of cancer - a "carcinoma."

Adrenal cortical carcinomas are relatively rare with an incidence of only 2 per million people. The tumors occur either in the very young (less than 5 years old) or in the 40`s and 50`s. The tumors may or may not produce the hormones that the adrenal gland produces normally. If it produces the hormones, hormone levels can help in the diagnosis and follow-up of the individual.

Treatment of adrenal cortical carcinoma is primarily surgical. It is important to remove all of the tumor with the initial surgery. Chemotherapy is only used if the tumor returns or spreads to another site. In patients with tumors confined to the adrenal gland, the average survival is 5 years.

For more detail on treatment and management, check the National Cancer Institute`s web site.

Related Resources:

PDQ - NCI's Comprehensive Cancer Database

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Response by:

Judith A Westman, MD Judith A Westman, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Medical Biochemistry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University