Adrenocortical cytopathology

H. Sasano, S. Shizawa, H. Nagura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Cytopathologic smears and/or imprints of human adrenal cortex (9 cases) and its disorders were examined, including adrenocortical nodule (3 cases), adrenocortical adenoma (23 cases), carcinoma (8 cases), and renal cell carcinoma (6 cases). Immunocytochemistry directed against 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and adrenal-4-binding protein (Ad4BP), a transcription factor in steroidogenesis, was also performed. There were no cytologic differences between normal adrenal and adrenocortical nodules. Large nuclei with prominent nucleoli were observed predominantly in adrenocortical neoplasms. Cellular atypia or pleomorphism and the degree of cohesiveness were unreliable criteria in differentiating between adrenocortical adenoma and carcinoma. Mitosis and necrotic materials were observed only in adrenocortical carcinoma. These cytologic findings were considered contributory, but not diagnostic when evaluating adrenocortical disorders because of marked intratumoral heterogeneity. There were no reliable cytologic criteria in differentiating adrenocortical and renal cell carcinoma. Immunocytochemistry of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and especially Ad4BP was demonstrated to aid greatly in the differential diagnosis between these carcinomas by identifying adrenocortical parenchymal cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Jan 1


  • Adrenal cortex
  • Cytology
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Smear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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