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Adrenal gland
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Treatment of recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma

The following are treatment options for recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer and prior history of cancer treatment.

There are no standard treatments for recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma. The goal of treatment is to relieve the symptoms caused by the recurrent tumour. The choice of treatment will depend on many factors, including:

  • previous treatment
  • site of recurrence
  • personal preferences

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be offered for recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma. The most common chemotherapy drug used is mitotane (Lysodren).

  • Mitotane relieves symptoms caused by the excessive production of hormones by the tumour.
  • It may be toxic to cancer cells and, in some situations, the tumour may shrink.

If adrenocortical carcinoma has been previously treated with mitotane, the following chemotherapy combinations may be given:

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

Supportive therapy

Supportive therapy may be offered for recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma to relieve the symptoms caused by excessive hormone produced by functioning tumours.

Supportive therapy may be used with recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma if chemotherapy is not effective or the side effects are too severe.

Surgery

Surgery may be offered for recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma. Surgical debulking is done to remove as much of the tumour as possible.

Removing as much of the tumour as possible will reduce the amount of hormones that are produced by the tumour and relieve the symptoms caused by the high hormone levels.

Surgery is sometimes done to remove liver metastases or lung metastases.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be offered for recurrent adrenocortical carcinoma to treat bone metastases.

Clinical trials

People with adrenocortical carcinoma may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.

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