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Adrenal gland

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Chemotherapy for adrenal gland cancer

Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat adrenal gland cancer.

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to treat cancer. It is usually a systemic therapysystemic therapyTreatment that travels through the bloodstream to reach cells all over the body. that circulates throughout the body and destroys cancer cells, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour.

Chemotherapy may be used:

  • after surgery to destroy cancer cells left behind and to reduce the risk of the cancer recurring (adjuvantadjuvantTreatment given in addition to the first-line therapy (the first or standard treatment) to help reduce the risk of a disease (such as cancer) coming back (recurring). chemotherapy)
  • to control the symptoms caused by over production of hormones in advanced adrenal gland cancer (palliative chemotherapy)

Drugs, doses and schedules vary from person to person.

Chemotherapy drugs

The following gives an overview of the drugs commonly used to treat adrenal gland tumours.

Adrenocortical carcinoma

The most common chemotherapy drug used to treat adrenocortical carcinoma is:

  • mitotane (Lysodren)

Other chemotherapy drugs that may be given in different combinations, often with mitotane, are:

  • cisplatin (Platinol AQ)
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • paclitaxel (Taxol)
  • 5-fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU)
  • vincristine (Oncovin)
  • etoposide (Vepesid)

If adrenocortical carcinoma recurs, the most common chemotherapy combinations that may be used are:

  • EDP with mitotane
    • etoposide (Vepesid)
    • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
    • cisplatin (Platinol AQ)
  • mitotane and streptozocin (Zanosar)


The most common chemotherapy combination used to treat malignant pheochromocytoma is:

  • CVD
    • cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Procytox)
    • vincristine (Oncovin)
    • dacarbazine (DTIC)

For more detailed information on specific drugs, go to sources of drug information.

See a list of questions to ask your doctor about chemotherapy.


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