Background: The present study examined adrenal metastasis resulting from renal cell carcinoma (RCC), with the aim of assessing the need for routine ipsilateral adrenalectomy during radical nephrectomy. Methods: Ipsilateral and contralateral adrenal metastases were investigated in 256 patients with RCC who had undergone radical nephrectomy from 1977 to 1996 at the Tohoku University School of Medicine. Results: Twelve of the 256 patients (4.7%) had adrenal metastasis. Ten of these 12 patients had progressed to disseminated disease with very poor prognosis. Two patients who had solitary adrenal metastases remained disease-free for 21 and 7 years. Four patients showed metastases to the contralateral adrenal gland. Adrenal metastases in seven of 12 patients were identified by pre- or postoperative computed tomography (CT), and in another five macroscopically during surgery. Conclusions: Adrenalectomy was regarded as a possible curative treatment for patients with solitary adrenal metastasis. However, the incidence of this kind of metastasis was minimal and contralateral adrenal metastases may occur in RCC cases. We therefore believe that adrenalectomy should only be performed if radiographic evidence reveals metastases in the adrenal gland or if gross disease is present at the time of nephrectomy.
- Adrenal metastases
- Renal cell carcinoma