Adrenal tumors – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Dr. Saqib Mueed

Table of Contents

Adrenal tumors are also known as adrenal adenoma. Adrenal tumors are the cancerous or noncancerous surges or outgrowths on the adrenal gland. The main cause of most adrenal tumors is rarely unknown.

The adrenal tumors may be removed by surgical or therapeutical methods in which the cancerous part has been removed. There are different types of adrenal tumors, and they may be cancerous or non-cancerous. Adrenal tumors may be malignant or benign tumors.

The adrenal tumors were first time come upon as the ancillary decree of the imaging test has been performed for extraneous logic for example for the examine or diagnose the abdominal pain, so they are often designated as adrenal incidentaloma.

Alongside they distinguish them into cancerous or noncancerous cells on the basis of their functions. If the tumor is in working position means they divide and multiply rapidly they are referred to as functioning tumors and if the tumor is not in not in working position means they do not divide and multiply rapidly they are referred to as nonfunctioning tumors.

Hie functioning tumors can facade to the overabundance of one or more of the normal adrenal hormones.


The adrenal glands are the most important component of the endocrine system. This type of gland releases certain types of hormones which let go of or license through the blood circulatory system.

Hormones are the chemical messengers which take information from one part of the body to another part through a special type of chemical secretion.

Hormones are essential or imperative for multifold embodiment functioning such as meta transfiguration, sexual urge and in adolescence.

Types of Tumors

  1.       Malignant tumor
  2.       Benign tumor

Malignant tumor:

The malignant tumors are the uncontrolled division of cancerous cells in the body. These tumors are more dangerous or hazardous for the body because it divides rapidly and spreads all over the body and affects other types of cells which leads to chronic disease and often causes death.

Benign tumor:

Most adrenal tumors are benign so they do not cause any symptoms in the body and they are less likely to be dangerous for a body.

So benign tumors are the controlled division of non-cancerous cells in the body but its division is to be controlled and doesn’t affect the normal cells and not spread all over the body so which leads to acute disease and produces uncomfortable symptoms in the body.

The adrenal adenoma is the most common wound often found incidentally on the adrenal gland for other reasons.

Symptoms Of Adrenal Tumor

More than half of the adrenal tumors are in effectual tumors because they are ineffective to produce several special types of chemicals so they are applicable to produce any symptoms in the body.

They frequently found parenthetically throughout MRI imagination tests of stomach and large intestine; hence they are often referred to or designated as adrenal incidentaloma.

High blood pressure (hyperplasia)

In women; Overabundance of facial and body hairs, or problems with the menstruation cycle. In men; Oversize of the breast, lower sex drive, and incompetent to fertilize.

Surplus obese in the loftier region of shoulders or neck.

  • Orbiculate or oval face.
  • Fatigue or Purple red resilient marks on the belly r Muscle instability
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia/ sleeplessness
  • Headache Sweating
  • Temporary paralysis ‘r Feeling of fear and dizziness


A benign tumor on the adrenal glands known as adenoma. An aberration functioning of the pituitary gland usually turns out to form tumors (which is also called Cushing’s syndrome. The constant use of corticosteroids medications leads to overflow/over borne production of cortisol.

Familial Adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

This extremely rare /scarce condition is symbolized by the presence of hundreds or even thousands of small cancerous outgrowths or bulges in the large intestine or in the respiratory tract.

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN)

This is a desperately / extremely rare genetic disorder. This is basically a noncancerous tumor form in the endocrine system. That’s basically a network of glands that produces special chemicals called hormones that is released directly or indirectly into the body that play a very important role in many body functions such as growth hormone, is involved in the regular increase in body size, and maturation of different body pails.

Risk Factors of Adrenal Tumors

Certain genetic irregularities also increase the chances of having adrenal tumors. Theses involve

Predisposition syndrome also is known as Werner’s Syndrome

  • Neurofibromatosis type 1
  • Paraganglioma syndrome
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome


To check if the treatment is working or if you have an adrenal gland tumor, one or more of the following certain tests are performed. These tests are as follows

  1. Blood test
  2. Urine test
  3. Imaging test

Blood test

This test is used to estimate a certain level of hormones. These include cortisol, aldosterone. plasma metanephros’s are chemicals such as sodium, potassium, and chlorine.

Urine test: This test may include about 24 hours of urine accumulation.

Imaging test

Which may comprise about

  • CT or CAT scan.
  • MRI (Magnetic sonority Imaging) scan.
  • Radiotracer Scintigraphy MIBG (Meta-Iodo Benzyl Guanidine) scan.
  • CT scan:

CT scan is the most often highly significant method that identifies the adrenal mass or lesions. The density of the adrenal lesion is highly sensitive and adrenal adenomas contain a significant amount of intercellular fat which is about 70%. Lipid poor adenomas are more crucial to examine because as the CT density increases which access to that of soft tissue density.

The contrast washout rate for lipid poor abrasions can be calculated by using CT scan. Typically adrenal adenomas have conversely rapid washout whereas nonadrenal adenomas have to impel to wash out more slowly. There are different protocols that exist and some argument or controversy exists about which protocol is the best.

However, some protocols which are in the range between 5 and 10 minutes may be more suitable for preserving CT scan lists. It is estimated that a 15-minute post disparity protocol has better diagnostic accuracy.

Treatment and Prognosis

The minor adrenal lesions through the exposure of extra hormones which need incision as huge as possible to (3-5cm) to the nonfunctional adrenal masses, so as they particularly measured as malevolent adrenal gland carcinomas.

A minor adrenal gland mass with the ordinary/ exemplary structures of adenomas along with chemical deformity might be carefully unaffected. Some recent trainings explain which is up to forty percent of the adrenal gland might produce, nearly estimated that 10%’ of the adrenal adenomas have been shown to resolve this disease.

50 % of the non-specific adrenal lumps or nodules in the patients with the known malignancy will represent or show the adrenal tumors.


Systemic therapies Medicines


In this method of treatment, one or both of the adrenal glands have been removed.

Systematic Surgery

This type of treatment includes Chemotherapy, medical therapies, and radiological agents /abettors are also involved…


This method is used to control the levels of hormones or replace certain deficient hormones by other hormones.[1][2][3]Tumors of the Adrenal Gland | SpringerLink[4]

Reviewed by:

Dr. Akhtar Nawaz Lak

MBBS, FCPS (Internal Medicine)

Ex. Medical Specialist, Services hospital, Lahore

Ex. Medical Specialist, Allied hospital, Faisalabad

Our reviewers’ details, Click Here



3Tumors of the Adrenal Gland | SpringerLink

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