The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, Patient Education Site

Adrenocortical carcinoma
(adrenal cancer)

Prognosis

Adult adrenocortical carcinoma are aggressive tumors with a very poor prognosis. The prognosis depends on the stage. Unfortunately, 60 to 70% of patients have stage III or IV disease at the time of diagnosis. The 5-year survival refers to the percent of patients on average who are alive 5 years after their diagnosis.

StageDescription5 Year SurvivalRecurrence rate
I< 5 cm, contained in adrenal65%40%
II> 5 cm, contained in adrenal65%60%
IIICancer spread to areas near adrenal40%70 to 80%
IVMetastatic disease10%> 90%

After a recurrence of adrenal cancer, virtually all patients die within five years. Treatment options for recurrent tumor include re-operation if all of the tumor can be removed. However, the tumor often cannot be completely removed, and so systemic therapy using mitotane with or without additional therapy such as cis-platinum-based chemotherapy regimens may be the best option.

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