Pulmonary Embolism as an Initial Presentation of Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Soe Yu Aung, Phillip Parente, Joseph McKendrick


Adrenocortical carcinomas (ACCs) are rare and often aggressive with more than 50% of the cases already in stage III-IV (ENSAT) at the time of diagnosis. Nearly 60% of ACCs present with hormone overproduction syndromes (Cushing's syndrome and/or virilization), while the rest present with abdominal mass or incidental finding. Aggressive surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment usually followed by adjuvant mitotane monotherapy. For the advanced stage, adjuvant radiotherapy and combined chemotherapy with mitotane therapy can be added for survival benefit. Here, we would like to report a case of stage III high-grade ACC without syndromes of hormone overproduction, initially presented with pulmonary embolism. It was rapidly progressive with metastases to lungs, peritoneum and bone despite aggressive surgery followed by adjuvant mitotane monotherapy. However, after palliative radiotherapy to thoraco-lumbar spine for spinal cord compression, and adding chemotherapy (six cycles of EDP: etoposide, doxorubicin, cisplatin) to mitotane, a significant partial remission was achieved. He has had 24 months of progression-free survival, and is currently on mitotane monotherapy with cortisol replacement. Discussion will support multimodality therapy for stage III high-grade ACC with surgery immediately followed by adjuvant radiotherapy and combined chemotherapy with mitotane therapy to prevent local recurrence and distant metastases.

World J Oncol. 2014;5(3):149-152
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14740/wjon814w


Adrenocortical carcinoma; Endocrine tumor; Pulmonary embolism

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