Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and in most cases steroid hormone-producing tumor with variable prognosis. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide clinicians with best possible evidence-based recommendations for clinical management of patients with ACC based on the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system. We predefined four main clinical questions, which we judged as particularly important for the management of ACC patients and performed systematic literature searches: (A) What is needed to diagnose an ACC by histopathology? (B) Which are the best prognostic markers in ACC? (C) Is adjuvant therapy able to prevent recurrent disease or reduce mortality after radical resection? (D) What is the best treatment option for macroscopically incompletely resected, recurrent or metastatic disease? Other relevant questions were discussed within the group. Selected Recommendations: (i) We recommend that all patients with suspected and proven ACC are discussed in a multidisciplinary expert team meeting. (ii) We recommend that every patient with (suspected) ACC should undergo careful clinical assessment, detailed endocrine work-up to identify autonomous hormone excess and adrenal-focused imaging. (iii) We recommend that adrenal surgery for (suspected) ACC should be performed only by surgeons experienced in adrenal and oncological surgery aiming at a complete en bloc resection (including resection of oligo-metastatic disease). (iv) We suggest that all suspected ACC should be reviewed by an expert adrenal pathologist using the Weiss score and providing Ki67 index. (v) We suggest adjuvant mitotane treatment in patients after radical surgery that have a perceived high risk of recurrence (ENSAT stage III, or R1 resection, or Ki67 >10%). (vi) For advanced ACC not amenable to complete surgical resection, local therapeutic measures (e.g. radiation therapy, radiofrequency ablation, chemoembolization) are of particular value. However, we suggest against the routine use of adrenal surgery in case of widespread metastatic disease. In these patients, we recommend either mitotane monotherapy or mitotane, etoposide, doxorubicin and cisplatin depending on prognostic parameters. In selected patients with a good response, surgery may be subsequently considered. (vii) In patients with recurrent disease and a disease-free interval of at least 12 months, in whom a complete resection/ablation seems feasible, we recommend surgery or alternatively other local therapies. Furthermore, we offer detailed recommendations about the management of mitotane treatment and other supportive therapies. Finally, we suggest directions for future research.
Martin Fassnacht, Olaf M Dekkers, Tobias Else, Eric Baudin, Alfredo Berruti, Ronald R de Krijger, Harm R Haak, Radu Mihai, Guillaume Assie and Massimo Terzolo
Johannes Hofland, Richard A Feelders, Ronald van der Wal, Michiel N Kerstens, Harm R Haak, Wouter W de Herder and Frank H de Jong
The insufficient diagnostic accuracy for differentiation between benign and malignant adrenocortical disease and lack of sensitive markers reflecting tumor load emphasize the need for novel biomarkers for diagnosis and follow-up of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC).
Since the inhibin α-subunit is expressed within the adrenal cortex, the role of serum inhibin pro-αC as a tumor marker for ACC was studied in patients.
Regulation of adrenal pro-αC secretion was investigated by adrenocortical function tests. Serum inhibin pro-αC levels were measured in controls (n=181) and patients with adrenocortical hyperplasia (n=45), adrenocortical adenoma (ADA, n=32), ACC (n=32), or non-cortical tumors (n=12). Steroid hormone, ACTH, and inhibin A and B levels were also estimated in patient subsets.
Serum inhibin pro-αC levels increased by 16% after stimulation with ACTH (P=0.043). ACC patients had higher serum inhibin pro-αC levels than controls (medians 733 vs 307 ng/l, P<0.0001) and patients with adrenocortical hyperplasia, ADA, or non-adrenocortical adrenal tumors (148, 208, and 131 ng/l, respectively, P=0.0003). Inhibin pro-αC measurement in ACC patients had a sensitivity of 59% and specificity of 84% for differentiation from ADA patients. Receiver operating characteristic analysis displayed areas under the curve of 0.87 for ACC vs controls and 0.81 for ACC vs ADA (P<0.0001). Surgery or mitotane therapy was followed by a decrease of inhibin pro-αC levels in 10/10 ACC patients tested during follow-up (P=0.0065).
Inhibin pro-αC is produced by the adrenal gland. Differentiation between ADA and ACC by serum inhibin pro-αC is limited, but its levels may constitute a novel tumor marker for ACC.
Ilse G C Hermsen, Harm R Haak, Ronald R de Krijger, Thomas M A Kerkhofs, Richard A Feelders, Wouter W de Herder, Hanneke Wilmink, Jan W A Smit, Hans Gelderblom, Noel F C C de Miranda, Ronald van Eijk, Tom van Wezel and Hans Morreau
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare disease with a poor prognosis and limited therapeutic options. Mitotane is considered the standard first-line therapy with only 30% of the patients showing objective tumour response. Defining predictive factors for response is therefore of clinical importance.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been implicated in the development of one-third of all malignancies. EGFR pathway members in ACC have been investigated, however, without available clinical data and relation to survival.
In this study, mutation status of EGFR and downstream signalling pathways was evaluated in 47 ACC patients on mitotane using direct sequencing, a TaqMan allele-specific assay and immunohistochemistry. Archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour tissue was used for all analyses. Patient data were obtained anonymously, after coupling with the collected tumour tissue.
One BRAF, two EGFR TK domain (c.2590G>A, p.864A>T) and 11 T P53, but no PIK3CA or KRAS, mutations were found. No relationship was found between mutation status, immunostaining and mitotane response or survival.
In conclusion, our data suggest that the role of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in ACC is limited. Treatment with EGFR monoclonal antibodies on the other hand might be beneficial for a larger group of patients. The possible efficacy of this therapy in ACC should be evaluated in future trials.
Edward Buitenwerf, Tijmen Korteweg, Anneke Visser, Charlotte M S C Haag, Richard A Feelders, Henri J L M Timmers, Letizia Canu, Harm R Haak, Peter H L T Bisschop, Elisabeth M W Eekhoff, Eleonora P M Corssmit, Nanda C Krak, Elise Rasenberg, Janneke van den Bergh, Jaap Stoker, Marcel J W Greuter, Robin P F Dullaart, Thera P Links and Michiel N Kerstens
A substantial proportion of all pheochromocytomas is currently detected during the evaluation of an adrenal incidentaloma. Recently, it has been suggested that biochemical testing to rule out pheochromocytoma is unnecessary in case of an adrenal incidentaloma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 Hounsfield Units (HU) at computed tomography (CT).
We aimed to determine the sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold value to exclude a pheochromocytoma.
Retrospective multicenter study with systematic reassessment of preoperative unenhanced CT scans performed in patients in whom a histopathologically proven pheochromocytoma had been diagnosed. Unenhanced attenuation values were determined independently by two experienced radiologists. Sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold was calculated, and interobserver consistency was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).
214 patients were identified harboring a total number of 222 pheochromocytomas. Maximum tumor diameter was 51 (39–74) mm. The mean attenuation value within the region of interest was 36 ± 10 HU. Only one pheochromocytoma demonstrated an attenuation value ≤10 HU, resulting in a sensitivity of 99.6% (95% CI: 97.5–99.9). ICC was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.75–0.86) with a standard error of measurement of 7.3 HU between observers.
The likelihood of a pheochromocytoma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 HU on CT is very low. The interobserver consistency in attenuation measurement is excellent. Our study supports the recommendation that in patients with an adrenal incidentaloma biochemical testing for ruling out pheochromocytoma is only indicated in adrenal tumors with an unenhanced attenuation value >10 HU.