Disease Information

Solid Tumor: Adrenocortical Tumors (Adenoma and Carcinoma)

Alternate Names: ACC, adrenocortical cancer, adrenocortical tumor, cancer of the adrenal cortex, adrenocortical adenoma, adrenocortical carcinoma and adrenocortical cancer

What is adrenocortical tumor?

Adrenocortical tumor (ACT) is a cancer of the adrenal glands, which are triangle-shaped glands located on both kidneys. These glands produce many chemicals, called hormones. The hormones help the body cope with stress, control blood pressure and keep a proper balance of sodium, potassium and water.

The disease is called “functioning ACT” if it causes more hormones to be made than normal, or “nonfunctioning ACT” if it does not. In children, about nine out of 10 adrenocortical tumors are “functioning.” In adolescents (teens), only about five out of 10 adrenocortical tumors are “functioning.”

In children, many times it is hard to tell the difference between carcinoma (cancerous tumors that will spread) and adenoma (non-cancerous tumors that will not spread). All children with adrenocortical tumor (carcinoma or adenoma) should be carefully assessed and followed by a team of experts. Some adenomas can develop into cancerous tumors.

How common are adrenocortical tumors?

What are the symptoms of adrenocortical tumor?

Symptoms of adrenocortical tumor can include the following:

For children with functioning ACT, symptoms depend on the amount and type of hormones that are overproduced.

Too much cortisol, a hormone related to stress, may cause the following:

Too much aldosterone, a hormone related to kidney function, may cause the following:

Too many sex hormones may cause early signs of puberty if the hormone being released matches the child’s gender:

When a child’s gender and the hormone that is overproduced do not match:

Tumors may produce more than one group of hormones. Most ACT in children release androgens, alone or with other hormones.

How is adrenocortical tumor treated?

What are the survival rates for adrenocortical tumors?

Why choose St. Jude for your child’s adrenocortical tumor treatment?

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