Adrenal gland
cancer

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Treatment of stage III adrenocortical carcinoma

The following are treatment options for stage III 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 III adrenocortical carcinoma. The type of surgery is an adrenalectomy, in which the adrenal gland is removed.

  • The tissue around the adrenal gland is removed, including all or part of the nearby kidney and part of the liver.
  • The lymph nodes around the adrenal gland are also removed.

Supportive therapy

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

  • control the symptoms of excessive hormone production before surgery
    • If the tumour cannot be completely removed, the person may need to take supportive therapy drugs after surgery to control excess hormone production.
  • 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 III adrenocortical carcinoma if the tumour is not completely removed by surgery.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be offered after surgery for stage III adrenocortical carcinoma if the tumour is not completely removed by surgery. This 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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