Laparoscopic adrenalectomy has become increasingly popular because of its minimally invasive nature, but guidelines for selection of cases suitable for this surgical procedure have not been established. We report a 52-year-old woman with adrenocortical carcinoma, manifesting as Cushing's syndrome, treated with laparoscopic adrenalectomy. The tumour was removed in toto and had been histologically diagnosed as adrenocortical adenoma. However, the patient developed intra-abdominal peritoneal dissemination of carcinoma 15 months after surgery. Review of the histopathological findings of the resected adrenocortical tumour revealed that the neoplasm met five out of nine histological criteria for adrenocortical malignancy, and was diagnosed as adrenocortical carcinoma. Histopathological examination of the tumour was also consistent with adrenocortical carcinoma. The patient responded extremely well to chemotherapy, including carboplatin, etoposide and o,p'-DDD (1,1-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane), and a subsequent CT (computed tomography) scan 12 months after the start of chemotherapy demonstrated no evidence of disease. However, the patient developed neurological impairment, including dysarthria, as a side-effect of o,p'-DDD. The patient died of aspiration pneumonia due to a decreased pharyngeal reflex. Postmortem examination revealed no foci of residual carcinoma. This case report emphasizes the importance of excluing possible adrenocortical malignancy in patients considered for laparoscopic adrenalectomy, histopathological diagnosis of adrenocortical malignancy and careful monitoring for neurotoxicity during o,p'-DDD treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism