We analyzed a series of adrenocortical neoplasms to compare the clinicopathologic features and the expression of insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-2) in adrenocortical adenomas and carcinomas. IGF-2 is a growth factor commonly expressed in many tumors including adrenal cortical and medullary neoplasms. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from 64 adrenocortical adenomas and 67 adrenocortical carcinomas were analyzed. The carcinomas were histologically graded from 1 to 4 based on mitotic activity and necrosis. Tumor weight, size, and follow-up information were obtained by chart review. Expression of IGF-2 was detected by immunohistochemistry with the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method and a monoclonal antibody against IGF-2. Adrenocortical carcinomas were larger (mean: 13.1 cm, 787 g) than adenomas (mean: 4.2 cm, 52 g) (p < 0.001). In patients with adrenocortical carcinomas, high tumor grade (3 or 4) (p = 0.01) was associated with decreased survival. Expresssion of IGF-2 was higher in adrenocortical carcinomas than in adenomas (p < 0.001). These results show that tumor size and weight along with expression of IGF-2 protein are useful features to assist in distinguishing between adrenocortical adenomas and carcinomas, and that high tumor grade is a predictor of survival in adrenocortical carcinomas. However, single immunohistochemical markers such as IGF-2 or single histopathologic features cannot by themselves separate adrenocortical adenomas from carcinomas, and a combination of clinical, gross, and microscopic features are needed to establish the diagnosis in difficult cases.
- Adrenocortical adenoma
- Adrenocortical carcinoma
- Insulin-like growth factor-2
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism