Adrenal tumor and treatment

Types of adrenal tumor and treatment options

As the term indicates, an adrenal tumor is the cancerous growth of adrenal glands that lie above the kidneys. Symptoms of adrenal tumors are not that obvious. Hence, it is vital to learn in detail about adrenal tumor and treatment.


Often, malignant tumors cause no observable symptoms until it reaches a deadly stage. Sometimes, the symptoms may be due to some other medical condition rather than cancer. Some of the main symptoms of adrenal tumor include; high blood pressure, lower potassium levels, anxiety and panic attacks, excessive perspiration, abdominal stretch marks, change in libido and genitalia, and excessive hair growth. Furthermore, it may cause sudden hormone surges that regulate blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke, hemorrhage, heart attack. 

Further, we shall discuss in detail the risk factors, types of Adrenal tumor and treatment options. 

Risk factors of adrenal tumor

Most of the adrenal carcinomas are not genetic. However, 15% can be linked to genetic syndromes. The genetic conditions may include the Carney complex, Lynch syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Von Hippel-Lindau neoplasia, and adenomatous polyposis etc. Besides, the tobacco abusers are also prone to adrenal tumors and treatment is most likely to be surgical such as laparoscopic adrenalectomy.

Let’s discuss various types of tumors. 

Types of adrenal tumor

Below are some of the types of adrenal carcinomas.

1. Incidentalomas

Also known as incidental adenomas of the adrenal gland, incidentalomas are the tumors that are discovered unexpectedly during examination for some other medical condition.

2. Aldosteronomas

It refers to benign adrenal tumor producing excess amounts of aldosterone, which leads to Conn syndrome or hyperaldosteronism.

3. Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma

Malignant tumors in the adrenal cortex of the adrenal gland are the adrenal cortical carcinomas.

4. Adrenal Cortex tumors

The tumor is responsible for producing excessive amounts of cortisol. Cortisol, in turn, affects the metabolism and aids the body in coping with physical stress. Finally, it leads to Cushing’s syndrome.

5. Pheochromocytomas & Paragangliomass

These tumors are responsible for producing excessive amounts of catecholamines, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

It is due to an imbalance of these hormones that the body shows off the symptoms described above.

Adrenal tumor and treatment 

The choice of treatment options and strategy depends upon various factors. However, there are the following main treatments.

 1. Chemotherapy

2. Hormone therapy

3. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy 

In the last decade, the most preferred treatment has been laparoscopic adrenalectomy in Pakistan for reasons such as most minor incisions, less post-operative pain, and shorter hospital stay. However, there may be risks of blood loss, and intra-organ injury, etc.