Canadian Cancer Society logo

Adrenal gland

You are here: 

If adrenal gland cancer spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the adrenal gland to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are also called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Understanding the usual progression of cancer helps the doctor to predict its probable course, plan treatment and anticipate further care.

The most common sites where adrenal gland cancer spreads are:

  • regional lymph nodes
  • the other adrenal gland
  • kidney
  • diaphragm
  • pancreas
  • spleen
  • large blood vessels
  • peritoneum (the membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen and pelvis, and covers and supports most of the abdominal organs)
  • lung
  • liver
  • bone

Metastases to the adrenal gland

The adrenal gland is a common site for metastases. Spread of other cancers to the adrenal gland is more common than primary cancer of the adrenal gland. Cancers that may spread to the adrenal gland include:

  • lung
  • breast
  • malignant melanoma
  • colorectal


Dr Mohammad Akbari Dr Mohammad Akbari pinpointed a new breast cancer susceptibility gene.

Learn more

Facing the financial burden of cancer

Illustration of coins

The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.

Learn more