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Adrenal gland
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Treatment of stage IV adrenocortical carcinoma

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

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be offered for stage IV adrenocortical carcinoma to relieve pain or control the symptoms (palliative chemotherapy).

The most common chemotherapy drug used is mitotane (Lysodren).

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

Supportive therapy

Supportive therapy may be offered for stage IV adrenocortical carcinoma to relieve the symptoms caused by excessive hormones produced by functioning tumours.

Supportive therapy may be used with advanced or metastatic adrenocortical carcinoma if mitotane is not effective or the side effects are too severe for the person to keep taking the drug.

Surgery

Surgery may be offered for stage IV 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 stage IV 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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