Hypothesis: Outcome of patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) has improved with the advent of more widely available and higher quality imaging. Operative management strategies and use of adjuvant therapy have not changed. Design: Retrospective review of patient histories, imaging studies, operative data, adjuvant therapy, and outcomes at a single institution. Follow-up was complete for a mean of 53 months. Data was compared with prior institutional experience. Setting: Tertiary care referral center. Patients: All patients undergoing operative management for ACC during the period from 1980 to 1996. Main Outcome Measures: Determinants of recurrence, survival, and the effect of adjuvant therapy on overall outcome. Results: Fifty-eight patients (30 men, 28 women) with a mean age of 53 years underwent primary operative management for ACC. Functional tumors were identified in 27 patients (47%). Mean tumor size was 12.5 cm. Stage according to the TNM staging system (AJCC Cancer Staging Manual) at presentation was I (n=0), II (n=30), III (n=7), and IV (n=21). Surgical management included curative resection in 41 (71%), noncurative resection in 14 (24%), and open biopsy in 3 (5%). Perioperative mortality was 5%. Recurrence occurred in 30 patients (73%) with a median time to recurrence of 17 months. Five-year survival by the Kaplan-Meier method was 37%. Prognostic factors (P<.05) included functional status, stage, and chemotherapy in stage III/IV patients. When compared with our prior institutional experience (1960-1980), current patients were more likely to present with stages I to II (52% vs 34%), have curative resections (71% vs 50%), and have improved 5-year survival (37% vs 16%). Conclusions: (1) Surgical resection remains the principal treatment for stage I to III disease. (2) Adjuvant therapy may improve survival in patients with stage III or IV disease. (3) Current patients were more likely to present at an earlier stage, undergo curative resections, and have improved 5-year survival than institutional historical comparisons.
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