Understanding adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC)
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare aggressive form of cancer that grows in the outer part of the adrenal glands.1
What is Adrenocortical Carcinoma (ACC)? 1
The adrenal glands sit just above the kidneys and produce hormones, including cortisol, aldosterone and male sex hormones. Tumours in these glands are common, but ACC is a rare aggressive form of cancer that grows in the outer part of the glands. The tumours in the adrenal glands cause too much of multiple types of hormone to be produced.
How is ACC diagnosed?
ACC can be difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms are also seen in more common diseases.1
The tests used to diagnose ACC depend on the patient’s symptoms, but usually begin with a simple check of the outward signs of the disease. These can include excess hair growth and high blood pressure. More extensive tests, such as measuring the hormone levels in the blood, imaging (including CT and MRI) and a microscopic examination of gland tissue are also carried out. These tests allow the doctor to see how far the tumour has developed and how best to treat the disease.
What treatment options are there for ACC? 1
Surgery to remove the affected adrenal gland is usually the first choice of treatment. Medicines, or
radiotherapy, aim to reduce the risk of recurrence.
If you are a patient, please contact your physician for more information.
If you are a healthcare professional from the EU, you can find further information on the treatment guidelines for adrenocortical carcinoma here.
If you are looking for additional information or support the following patient associations will be able to help you.
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2. Fassnacht M et al. Eur J Endocrinol. 2018;179:G1–G46
3. Libe R et al. Front Cell Div Biol. 2015;3:45
4. Else T et al. Endocr Rev. 2014;35:282–326