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Medicina (Buenos Aires)

Print version ISSN 0025-7680On-line version ISSN 1669-9106


CHERVIN, Raúl A. et al. A study of 34 cases of adrenal incidentaloma. Medicina (B. Aires) [online]. 2007, vol.67, n.4, pp.341-350. ISSN 0025-7680.

Adrenal incidentaloma, a tumor discovered unexpectedly during imaging performed for non-adrenal related causes, has become a frequent clinical concern. Although in most cases they are benign and hormonally nonfunctioning, it is important to appropriately identify those few cases of malignant or hyperfunctioning lesions of surgical resolution. Although several proposals for an optimal diagnostic strategy have been designed, controversy over a series of questions still persists. In the present retrospective study we analyzed 34 patients with adrenal incidentaloma. Of these, 32% of the patients displayed hyperfunctioning pathologies that included subclinical Cushing's syndrome in four patients, probable primary hyperaldosteronism in two, late onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia in one, adrenocortical carcinoma in one and pheochromocytoma in three. CT and/or MRI permitted the identification of adenomas and were crucial to decide on surgery in two patients with nonfunctioning pheochromocytomas and in a patient carrying a primitive adrenocortical carcinoma, a diagnosis also suggested by a mixed pattern of hypersecretion of androgens and cortisol. In a diabetic and hypertensive patient with subclinical Cushing's syndrome both comorbidities were solved by surgery. Nonfunctioning tumors were mainly adenomas (87%) with individual cases of histoplasmosis, pseudocyst, idiopathic adrenal hyperplasia and mielolipoma. Six of the eight operated patients presented malignant and/or hyperfunctioning tumors. The pathology associated with incidentalomas represents a broad spectrum of risk for patients and reaffirms the necessity for a meticulous clinical, biochemical, and imaging evaluation in order to make appropriate decisions.

Keywords : Adrenal gland tumors; Adrenal incidentaloma; Subclinical Cushing´s syndrome.

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