Positive Lymph Nodes in Adrenocortical Carcinoma: What Does It Mean?

Alaa Sada, Amy E. Glasgow, Melanie L. Lyden, Geoffrey B. Thompson, Benzon M. Dy, Travis J. McKenzie, Elizabeth B. Habermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The role of lymphadenectomy in adrenocortical carcinoma resection is controversial. Therefore, we conducted a population-based study to assess the association between positive lymph nodes (LN) and survival. Methods: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results set of cancer registries were utilized. The associations between positive lymph nodes and tumor size, grade and laterality were assessed. Cancer specific survival (CSS) trends and factors affecting survival were analyzed. Results: A total of 2170 adult patients were identified; 60% underwent resection. Among those resected, LN were examined in 23% and were positive in 25% of patients with LN examined. Patients with positive LN tended to have smaller tumors compared to those with negative LN (12 ± 5 vs 15 ± 11 cm, p = 0.02). The rate of positive LN was higher in right ACC, p = 0.03. Median overall CSS was 21 months, with significant differences between resection (42 months) and no resection (4 months), p < 0.01. Median CSS did not change over time when comparing ACC patients who underwent surgery before 2000, 2000–2009, and 2010–2016. On multivariable analysis including resection group, advanced age, grades III and IV, regional and distant stage, in addition to positive LN were associated with worse survival, p < 0.05. Conclusion: Lymphadenectomy is infrequently performed during ACC resection, and when performed, regional LN involvement tends to be associated with worse survival. Neoplasm size and grade were not associated with LN involvement and therefore, do not inform lymphadenectomy need. Further studies are needed to assess the indications for, and value of lymphadenectomy in ACC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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