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William F Young Jr

Phaeochromocytoma is a rare tumor with an incidence of two to eight cases per million people per year (1). In defiance of its obscure nature, an average of 261 articles per year over the past 30 years has been published in the international biomedical literature on phaeochromocytoma (MEDLINE, National Library of Medicine). One could argue that too much research and printed word have been devoted to such a rare tumor. This heightened medical interest is fueled by the fact that when correctly diagnosed and properly treated, phaeochromocytoma is curable; however, when it is undiagnosed or improperly treated, it can be fatal.

It began in 1926—César Roux in Switzerland and Charles H Mayo in the United States successfully removed phaeochromocytomas to cure the symptom complex caused by tumor-dependent catecholamine excess (2). A biochemical assessment of catecholamine hypersecretion was not possible in 1926. The diagnostic approach has progressed from these clinical impressions

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Irina Bancos, Fares Alahdab, Rachel K Crowley, Vasileios Chortis, Danae A Delivanis, Dana Erickson, Neena Natt, Massimo Terzolo, Wiebke Arlt, William F Young Jr, and M Hassan Murad


Beneficial effects of adrenalectomy on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome (SCS) are uncertain. We sought to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis with the following objectives: (i) determine the effect of adrenalectomy compared with conservative management on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SCS and (ii) compare the effect of adrenalectomy on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SCS vs those with a nonfunctioning (NF) adrenal tumor.


MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trial were searched on 17 November 2015. Reviewers extracted data and assessed methodological quality in duplicate.


We included 26 studies reporting on 584 patients with SCS and 457 patients with NF adrenal tumors. Studies used different definitions of SCS. Patients with SCS undergoing adrenalectomy demonstrated an overall improvement in cardiovascular risk factors (61% for hypertension, 52% for diabetes mellitus, 45% for obesity and 24% for dyslipidemia). When compared with conservative management, patients with SCS undergoing adrenalectomy experienced improvement in hypertension (RR 11, 95% CI: 4.3–27.8) and diabetes mellitus (RR 3.9, 95% CI: 1.5–9.9), but not dyslipidemia (RR 2.6, 95% CI: 0.97–7.2) or obesity (RR 3.4, 95% CI: 0.95–12). Patients with NF adrenal tumors experienced improvement in hypertension (21/54 patients); however, insufficient data exist for comparison to patients with SCS.


Available low-to-moderate-quality evidence from heterogeneous studies suggests a beneficial effect of adrenalectomy on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SCS overall and compared with conservative management.

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Prerna Dogra, Michael Rivera, Travis J McKenzie, Trenton R Foster, Benzon M Dy, Melanie L Lyden, William F Young, and Irina Bancos


Benign adrenal cysts are rare lesions of the adrenal glands. Limited data are available to guide management. We aimed to describe the presentation and outcomes of patients with benign adrenal cysts.


Retrospective longitudinal cohort study.


Consecutive patients with histologically or radiologically confirmed adrenal cysts between 1995 and 2021 were identified. Pheochromocytomas and malignancy were excluded.


Benign adrenal cysts were diagnosed in 92 patients (53, 57% women) at a median age of 45 years. Mode of discovery was incidental on imaging in 81 (88%), symptoms of mass effect in 9 (9.8%), and others in 2 (2.2%). Majority (89, 97%) of patients had unilateral cysts (45 right, 44 left) with a median size of 48 mm (range 4–200) at diagnosis. On imaging, most cysts were round/oval (85.4%), homogenous (83.2%) lesions with calcifications (64.0%) and no vascular enhancement (97.7%). During a median follow-up of 65 months (range 7–288), adrenal cysts demonstrated minimal enlargement (median size change 6 mm, median growth rate 2 mm/year). On hormonal evaluation, 10% (5/50 tested) had an abnormal overnight dexamethasone suppression test, and 9.5% (4/42 tested) had an abnormal case detection testing for primary aldosteronism. Patients treated with adrenalectomy (46, 50%) were younger (36.9 years vs 50.8 years, P = 0.0009) and had more rapidly enlarging cysts (median growth rate 5.5 mm/year vs 0.4 mm/year, P = 0.0002).


Benign adrenal cysts are usually incidentally discovered, non-functional, homogenous lesions without vascular enhancement that demonstrate minimal growth. Adrenalectomy should be reserved for patients with heterogeneous lesions, abnormal hormonal evaluation, or those with mass effect symptoms.