Research into 'silent' adrenal tumors detected by CT scans provides much-needed guidance for clinical management

CT scans are increasingly performed for a variety of medical indications, including for general health screening, which is growing in popularity. An estimated 4 percent of CT scans will coincidentally uncover a tumor in the adrenal gland, with no associated clinical symptoms.

However, until now, evidence on how to manage these 'silent' tumours has been lacking, despite the fact that the growing demand for CT scans is likely to lead to increasing numbers of detections.

A new study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology is one of the first to shed light on the progression of these tumours, and should help clinicians and patients to decide how to manage them. The study rigorously assesses how 'silent' adrenal tumours (adrenal incidentalomas) affect patients' risk of cardiovascular events and death. The results show that over time, some tumours became more active, and that is elevated in many patients with tumours, especially in those patients whose tumours secrete the hormone cortisol.

Currently, management of these tumours can be very expensive because insufficient information exists to enable treatment strategies to be tailored to each patient. According to lead author Professor Renato Pasquali, of the S Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, in Bologna, Italy, "Our findings are important because they add to the previously scant information about adrenal incidentalomas, which will be of use to doctors who are seeing an increasing number of patients with these masses."

Writing in a linked Comment, Professor Rosario Pivonello, of the Università Federico II in Naples, Italy, says that, "The study findings underline that the degree of hormonal dysfunction can worsen during follow-up…[and] support the importance of long-term hormonal follow-up for clinical management of all patients with adrenal incidentalomas. Furthermore, clinical monitoring of cardiometabolic risks seems to be important in these , particularly in those with [secreting tumours], for whom medical or surgical intervention could be needed."

More information: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan… (13)70211-0/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists develop urine test for cancer

Sep 16, 2011

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a ground-breaking technique that uses a urine test to help to diagnose adrenal cancer.

Recommended for you

Blood biomarker may detect lung cancer

4 hours ago

A new study shows that patients with stage I to stage III non-small cell lung cancer have different metabolite profiles in their blood than those of patients who are at risk but do not have lung cancer. The study abstract ...

ACG: Recent increase in incidence of young-onset CRC

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The incidence of young-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing, and the disease is more aggressive pathologically. These findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American ...

User comments