Association of Surgical Approach With Treatment Burden, Oncological Effectiveness, and Perioperative Morbidity in Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Published:April 28, 2022DOI:


      • We tested if minimally invasive adrenalectomy (MIA) was associated with worse outcomes compared with open adrenalectomy (OA).
      • In the National Cancer Database, we noted patients treated with MIA had a similar cumulative treatment burden (use of any adjuvant treatment) and similar oncological effectiveness (positive surgical margins, lymph node yield, and overall survival) compared with open adrenalectomy.
      • Although the standard of care remains open surgery, in appropriately selected patients, MIA may offer equivalent oncological efficacy with less morbidity than OA.



      In the National Cancer Database (NCDB), patients treated with minimally invasive adrenalectomy (MIA) for adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) had similar oncological outcomes and cumulative treatment burden with less morbidity compared with open adrenalectomy (OA). Although OA remains the standard of care for adrenal lesions concerninge for malignancy, MIA in appropriately selected patients may offer equivalent oncological outcomes.


      We investigated the cumulative treatment burden, oncological effectiveness, and perioperative morbidity in patients undergoing MIA compared with (OA) for patients with ACC.

      Patients and Methods

      We reviewed the NCDB for patients undergoing surgical resection (MIA vs. OA) for ACC from 2010 to 2017. Inverse probability of treatment weighted logistic regression, negative binomial, and Cox proportional hazards models were fit to assess for an association of surgical approach with cumulative treatment burden (any adjuvant therapy, radiation therapy [RT], and systemic therapy), oncological effectiveness (positive surgical margins [PSM], lymph node yield [LNY], and overall survival [OS]), and perioperative morbidity (length of stay [LOS] and readmission) as appropriate.


      We identified 776 patients that underwent adrenalectomy for ACC, of which 307 underwent MIA. We noted patients with larger tumors (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.78-0.86, P < .001) were less likely to have MIA prior to IPTW. We did not appreciate a significant association of MIA with cumulative treatment burden or the use of any adjuvant therapy (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.60-1.21, P = .375), adjuvant RT (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.59-1.50, P = .801), or adjuvant systemic therapy (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.58-1.21, P = .352). Patients undergoing MIA had similar oncological effectiveness of surgery and OS when compared with patients which underwent OA. Patients that underwent MIA had a significantly shorter LOS (IRR: 0.74, 95% CI 0.62-0.88, P = .001) and lower odds of readmission (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.23-0.91, P = .026).


      Although the standard of care for adrenal lesions suspicious for ACC remains OA, in appropriately selected patients, MIA may offer similar oncological effectiveness and cumulative treatment burden, with less morbidity, than OA.


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