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Imaging findings in pediatric adrenocortical carcinoma.

Pediatric Radiology 2000 January
BACKGROUND: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), a tumor that is rare among children, causes clinically evident hormonal disturbances. Imaging methods are used to stage disease and to plan surgical resection.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the findings of the various imaging methods used to evaluate ACC.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed the records of ten consecutive patients (mean age, 8.1 years) who presented from 1987 to 1998 with ACC. All patients underwent computed tomography (CT) scanning; five underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging; four underwent ultrasonography (US); and eight underwent radionuclide bone scans.

RESULTS: Seven patients presented with signs of hormonally functional tumors. Typical imaging findings consisted of a large, well-defined suprarenal tumor, containing calcifications (seven patients) with a thin capsule and central necrosis or hemorrhage (six patients). The inferior vena cava (IVC) was compressed by tumor in three patients, and ultrasonography demonstrated invasion of the IVC wall in one of these. Three patients' bone scans showed that the primary tumor took up radioactive tracer. Spread to lungs or liver or both was demonstrated in six patients.

CONCLUSIONS: CT, US and MR imaging are effective methods of imaging the primary tumor. Chest CT and bone scintigraphy should be performed to detect metastases. The presence of a thin tumor capsule, a stellate central zone of necrosis, and evidence of hormonal function help distinguish ACC from neuroblastoma.

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