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Radiotherapy in adrenocortical carcinoma.

Cancer 2009 July 2
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare malignancy, and patients with ACC have a poor prognosis. Even after radical surgery, up to 85% of patients develop recurrent disease. Systemic treatment options still have limited efficacy. Because the role of radiotherapy is not defined well and because ACC often is considered radioresistant, the authors reviewed the available data on radiotherapy for ACC. Original articles and reviews were identified using a PubMed search strategy that included the period up to July 2008. Ten articles were identified that covered radiotherapy in a total of 129 patients with ACC (64 patients received postoperative irradiation, and 65 patients received palliative therapy for advanced disease). In addition, 26 patients were identified in the German ACC Registry who received palliative radiotherapy. Furthermore, patterns of failure after adjuvant radiotherapy were investigated, and the authors provided recommendations for patient selection, treatment planning, and treatment protocols. In an adjuvant setting, postoperative radiotherapy was able to prevent local recurrence in the majority of patients. In those with advanced disease, a response to radiotherapy was observed in 57% of patients who received palliative radiotherapy. Therefore, the authors concluded that radiotherapy may play an important role in the care of patients with ACC. Until better evidence is available, the authors recommended the following approach: Adjuvant radiotherapy to the tumor bed should be considered in patients at high risk for local recurrence (eg, incomplete/R1 resection); a total dose of >40 grays (Gy) with single fractions of 1.8 Gy to 2 Gy should be administered (including a boost volume to reach from 50 Gy to 60 Gy in individual patients); and radiotherapy in a palliative setting may be used for symptomatic metastases to bone, brain, or vena cava obstruction. With state-of-the-art technology, acute and long-term toxicities mostly were mild to moderate. However, the authors concluded that prospective investigations would be required to fully define the therapeutic potential of this important treatment option.

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