Adrenal Tumor

What Is It ?

The term adrenal tumor can refer to one of several benign and malignant neoplasms of the adrenal gland, several of which are notable for their tendency to overproduce endocrine hormones like pheochromocytomas.

Most adrenal pheochromocytomas and all adrenocortical adenomas are benign tumors, which do not invade nearby tissues or spread to distant organs, but which may still cause significant health problems by giving rise to hormonal imbalances.

Symptoms

Pheochromocytoma may lead to potentially life-threatening high blood pressure, cardiac arrythmias and numerous symptoms such as:

  • headache
  • palpitations
  • anxiety attacks
  • sweating
  • weight loss
  • tremor
Treatment

Diagnosis is most easily confirmed through urinary measurement of catecholamine metabolites such as VMA and metanephrines.

Most pheochromocytomas are initially treated with anti-adrenergic drugs to protect against catecholamine overload, with surgery employed to remove the tumor once the patient is medically stable.

Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is the gold standard for removal of adrenal tumours