Adrenocortical carcinoma is cancer that starts in the adrenal cortex. There are 2 adrenal glands. They’re found above each kidney. They make important hormones. The hormones control heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, they manage the response to stress and infection.
This type of cancer is rare. In most cases, these tumors make too much of certain hormones. This can lead to an imbalance.
Cancer is when cells in the body split without control or order. These cells go on to form a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to harmful growths. These growths attack nearby tissues. They also spread to other parts of the body. It’s not clear exactly what causes these problems. It’s likely a mix of genes and the environment.
Treatment depends on the stage of the tumor. These may include:
to remove the adrenal tumor. In most cases, this is the first treatment if the tumor is causing problems.
Radiation therapy—Used to shrink any remaining tumors after surgery or if the cancer has spread. It may be:
External—radiation aimed at the tumor from a source outside the body
Internal—radioactive materials are placed into the body near the cancer cells
Chemotherapy—Use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. It’s not used as a cure. But it may be done if cancer has spread and surgery isn’t possible.
Adrenal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
Accessed July 30, 2018.
Adrenal cortical adenoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 29, 2017. Accessed July 30, 2018.
General information about adrenocortical carcinoma. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
Updated May 17, 2018. Accessed July 30, 2018.