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      An Inhibin B and Estrogen-Secreting Adrenocortical Carcinoma Leading to Selective FSH Suppression

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          Objective: Hormone-secreting adrenocortical tumors are frequently associated with endocrine syndromes. We describe a 30-year-old man who had abdominal pain, a nodule in the right breast and loss of libido. Abdominal magnetic resonance imaging revealed a very large tumor in the right adrenal gland. Methods: Hormonal profile disclosed increased levels of estradiol and slightly low testosterone levels. The basal and stimulated LH levels were normal, whereas basal and stimulated FSH levels were totally suppressed. Cortisol and adrenal androgen levels were normal. The unusual finding of selective FSH suppression suggested secretion of inhibin B by the adrenocortical tumor. A very high level of serum inhibin B (405 pg/ml) was demonstrated by ELISA assay. Right adrenalectomy and nephrectomy were performed and the tumor was classified as a malignant tumor (Weiss score: 7.0) and unilateral mastectomy disclosed a lipoma. Results: One week after surgery, a GnRH-stimulation test disclosed normal basal and stimulated FSH levels and low levels of inhibin B and estradiol. Immunohistochemical analysis with anti-B-inhibin antibody revealed intense staining in the adrenocortical tumor cells. One month after surgery, an abdominal magnetic resonance imaging revealed a local recurrence of the tumor and a second surgery was performed with partial resection of the tumor and the patient died 1 year after the first surgery. Conclusion: We herein report the first inhibin B and estradiol-secreting adrenocortical carcinoma. The unusual selective inhibition of FSH secretion should be considered a valuable hormonal finding for the diagnosis of inhibin B-secreting adrenocortical tumors.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Pathologic features of prognostic significance in adrenocortical carcinoma.

          There are currently no well-established pathologic prognostic factors helpful in distinguishing low versus high grade adrenocortical carcinomas. The effect of 11 pathologic parameters on survival was investigated in 42 cases of adrenocortical carcinoma. Only one variable, mitotic rate, had a strong statistical association with patient outcome. The 21 patients with carcinomas with greater than 20 mitoses per 50 high power fields (hpf) had a median survival of 14 months, whereas the 21 patients with carcinomas with less than or equal to 20 mitoses had a median survival of 58 months (p less than 0.02). The presence of atypical mitoses, capsular invasion, tumor weight greater than 250 g, and size greater than 10 cm each showed a marginal statistical association with poor survival (p less than 0.06), whereas other features assessed, such as nuclear grade, presence of necrosis or of venous or sinusoidal invasion, character of the tumor cell cytoplasm, or architectural pattern, showed no statistical significance in predicting survival. It is proposed that adrenal cortical carcinomas with greater than 20 mitoses be designated high grade, whereas tumors with less than or equal to 20 mitoses be designated low grade.
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            Adrenal cortical carcinoma.

            Adrenal cortical carcinoma is a rare endocrine tumor for which complete surgical resection is the only potentially curative treatment. Accurate preoperative evaluation (biochemical and radiographic) of the patient who presents with an adrenal mass maximizes the opportunity for the patient to undergo a complete, margin-negative resection of the primary tumor, which is the most powerful prognostic variable for long-term survival. The response to chemotherapy or mitotane is modest in patients with advanced disease. Hopefully, an improved understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of this challenging tumor will lead to the development of more effective therapies in the future.
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              Discerning malignancy in adrenocortical tumors: are molecular markers useful?

              Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare neoplasm with poor prognosis. Discerning ACCs from benign adenomas histologically may be difficult if invasion into surrounding tissues or metastases are missing. In order to establish molecular markers for malignancy, we analyzed seven normal adrenals, three massive macronodular ACTH-independent adrenocortical hyperplasias (MMAHs), 30 adrenocortical adenomas (ACAs) and ten ACCs. All tissues were studied for the presence of alterations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene using the PAb 1801 antibody, which detects mutant p53 protein and the pYNZ22 microsatellite marker to show loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at 17p, for expression of the proliferation-associated antigen Ki67 using the MIB1 antibody, for the rate of apoptotic tumor cells with the TdT-mediated dUTP biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) method, and for LOH of 11q13 (menin gene locus) with the D11S956 microsatellite marker. 0/3 MMAH, 1/28 ACA and 3/10 ACC revealed immunopositive staining for p53. LOH for pYNZ22 was observed in 1/3 MMAH, 1/23 informative ACA and 6/6 informative ACC. The rate of apoptotic cells was significantly higher in ACC (P<0.0001 by ANOVA) than in ACA but there was some overlap between groups. The Ki67 index (% immunopositive cells) was 1.9+/-1.30% (mean+/-s.d.) in normal adrenals, 3.47+/-1.37% in MMAH, and 2.11+/-1.01% in ACA. ACC had the highest Ki67 index of 11.94+/-7.58% distinguishing all ACC from the ACA and MMAH studied with a cut-off level of 5%. LOH for 11q13 was detected in 2/3 MMAH, 5/26 ACA and 6/8 ACC. We conclude that a Ki67 index above 5% is a sensitive and specific indicator of ACC and may be useful in the differentiation of adenomas from carcinomas.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                February 2007
                15 September 2006
                : 67
                : 1
                : 7-11
                aUnidade de Endocrinologia do Desenvolvimento, Laboratório de Hormônios e Genética Molecular LIM/42, Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, bDepartamento de Ciências Fisiológicas da Fundação Faculdade Federal de Ciências Médicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, cDepartamento de Urologia e dDepartamento de Anatomia Patológica do Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, eFaculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
                95806 Horm Res 2007;67:7–11
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 19, Pages: 5
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