The development of new therapies has lagged behind for rare cancers without defined therapeutic targets. Adrenocortical cancer is no exception. Mitotane, an older agent considered “adrenolytic,” is used both to control symptoms in advanced disease and as adjuvant therapy after surgical resection. Molecular characterization of adrenocortical cancer has deepened our understanding of this genetically complex disease while identifying subgroups whose importance remains to be determined. Unfortunately, such studies have yet to demonstrate a therapeutic target for drug development, and to date, no targeted therapy has achieved meaningful outcomes. Consequently, first-line therapy for metastatic disease remains a combination regimen of etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatinum established in a randomized clinical trial. In addition to evaluating recent studies in adrenocortical cancer, we raise one critical clinical issue—the risk of peritoneal dissemination following laparoscopic resection of adrenocortical cancer. In a retrospective case series of 267 patients referred to the NCI for the treatment of recurrent or advanced adrenocortical cancer, we found extensive peritoneal dissemination in 25 of the 45 patients (55.6%) who had undergone laparoscopic resection, compared with only 7 of the 222 patients (3%) who had undergone an open resection (P < 0.0001). Although this has been debated in the literature, our data argue for an end to laparoscopic resection of adrenocortical cancers to avoid peritoneal dissemination, a complication of laparoscopy that is uniformly fatal. Clin Cancer Res; 22(20); 4989–5000. ©2016 AACR.
See all articles in this CCR Focus section, “Endocrine Cancers: Revising Paradigms.”
- Received July 12, 2016.
- Revision received August 22, 2016.
- Accepted August 24, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.