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Aldosterone-Producing Adrenocortical Carcinoma: Preoperative Recognition and Course in Three Cases

EUGENIO ARTEAGA, M.D.; EDWARD G. BIGLIERI, M.D.; CLAUDIO E. KATER, M.D.; JOSE M. LOPEZ, M.D.; and MORRIS SCHAMBELAN, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Edward G. Biglieri, M.D.; San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, Room 321, Building 100, 1001 Potrero Avenue; San Francisco, CA 94110.


San Francisco, California


© 1984 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1984;101(3):316-321. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-101-3-316
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Three patients with primary aldosteronism due to adrenocortical carcinoma were studied, two with hyperaldosteronism alone and one also with hypercortisolism; in the later stages all three had hypersecretion of glucocorticoid and androgenic hormones. Although clinical presentations were similar to those of patients with benign adenoma, all had significantly higher concentrations of deoxycorticosterone and aldosterone and more profound hypokalemia. Stimulation with adrenocorticotropin in two patients showed a good cortisol response but no aldosterone response. The circadian rhythm for Cortisol was normal but absent for aldosterone and deoxycorticosterone. Sequential 24-hour circadian studies in one patient showed that as the disease progressed, corticosterone and finally Cortisol lost their circadian rhythms. Treatment with spironolactone, mitotane, or aminoglutethimide had transient clinical effects. The patients died 2 to 13 years later.

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