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Treatment of stage II adrenocortical carcinoma

The following are treatment options for stage II adrenocortical carcinoma. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.

Surgery

Surgery is the primary treatment for stage II adrenocortical carcinoma. The type of surgery is an adrenalectomy, in which the adrenal gland is removed. The lymph nodes are not usually removed unless they are enlarged or the doctor thinks the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Supportive therapy

Supportive therapy may be offered for stage II adrenocortical carcinoma. Supportive therapy drugs may be given to:

  • control the symptoms of excessive hormone production before surgery
  • replace hormones after surgery
    • short-term – Hormones are given if the remaining adrenal gland can’t produce enough hormones. They are discontinued when the hormone levels return to normal.
    • long-term – Some people may need to take hormones for the rest of their lives if both adrenal glands are removed.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy with mitotane (Lysodren) may be offered after surgery for stage II adrenocortical carcinoma if:

  • the tumour is large
  • the tumour was not completely removed by surgery
    • blood and urine tests, or imaging tests, show signs that the disease is still present

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be offered after surgery for stage II adrenocortical carcinoma if the tumour:

  • is large
  • was not completely removed by surgery
  • appears to be growing fast (determined by looking at the cancer cells under a microscope)

Radiation therapy for stage II adrenocortical carcinoma is not standard treatment and is under evaluation.

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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