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Lymphadenectomy for Adrenocortical Carcinoma: Is There a Therapeutic Benefit?

  • Endocrine Tumors
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Annals of Surgical Oncology Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Lymph node metastasis is an established predictor of poor outcome for adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC); however, routine lymphadenectomy during surgical resection of ACC is not widely performed and its therapeutic role remains unclear.


Patients undergoing margin-negative resection for localized ACC were identified from a multi-institutional database. Patients were stratified into 2 groups based on the surgeon’s effort or not to perform a lymphadenectomy as documented in the operative note. Clinical, pathologic, and outcome data were compared between the 2 groups.


Of 120 patients who met inclusion criteria from 1993 to 2014, 32 (27 %) underwent lymphadenectomy. Factors associated with lymphadenectomy were tumor size (12 vs. 9.5 cm; p = .007), palpable mass at presentation (26 vs. 12 %; p = .07), suspicious lymph nodes on preoperative imaging (44 vs. 7 %; p < .001), and need for multivisceral resection (78 vs. 36 %; p < .001). Median number of lymph nodes harvested was higher in the lymphadenectomy group (5.5 vs. 0; p < .001). In-hospital mortality (0 vs. 1.3 %; p = .72) and grade 3/4 complication rates (0 vs. 12 %; p = .061) were not significantly different. Patients who underwent lymphadenectomy had improved overall survival (5-year 76 vs. 59 %; p = .041). The benefit of lymphadenectomy on overall survival persisted on multivariate analysis (HR = 0.17; p = .006) controlling for adverse preoperative and intraoperative factors associated with lymphadenectomy, such as tumor size, palpable mass, irregular tumor edges, suspicious nodes on imaging, and multivisceral resection.


In this multicenter study of adrenocortical carcinoma patients undergoing R0 resection, the surgeon’s effort to dissect peritumoral lymph nodes was independently associated with improved overall survival.

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Correspondence to George A. Poultsides MD.

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Gerry, J.M., Tran, T.B., Postlewait, L.M. et al. Lymphadenectomy for Adrenocortical Carcinoma: Is There a Therapeutic Benefit?. Ann Surg Oncol 23 (Suppl 5), 708–713 (2016).

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