The role of resection in the management of melanoma metastatic to the adrenal gland.
Melanoma metastatic to the adrenal gland diagnosed before death was exceedingly rare before the development of computed tomographic (CT) scanning. The records of 28 patients with melanoma metastatic to the adrenal gland seen since 1975 were reviewed. Eighteen patients were men and 10 were women. Twenty-three patients had unilateral disease. Four patients were diagnosed only at autopsy, leaving 24 for analysis of treatment and survival. Twenty-one patients had received specific active immunotherapy, four had received chemotherapy (dacarbazine, lomustin, bleomycin, and vincristine), and three had received both before the diagnosis of their adrenal disease. Adrenal metastases were diagnosed by CT scanning in 14 patients with symptoms, 10 (91%) of whom had pain. Ten patients were diagnosed by CT before entry into a chemotherapy protocol. Of eight patients who underwent resection of all known disease, five underwent unilateral adrenalectomy, two underwent unilateral adrenalectomy and bowel resection, and one underwent bilateral adrenalectomy. Two patients underwent partial resection of large unilateral tumors. Fourteen patients with adrenal metastases and disease elsewhere were initiated or continued with chemotherapy or were treated symptomatically. Mean survival in the group that underwent resection for cure was 59 months (3 to 112 months), whereas survival in the group with unresectable tumors was 15 months (1.5 to 132 months). Four of eight patients who underwent resection for cure lived more than 5 years after detection of adrenal metastasis, whereas in only one of 14 patients with unresectable tumors was the same true. Patients with metastatic melanoma localized to one or both adrenal glands may benefit from early detection and surgical intervention.
Branum, GD; Epstein, RE; Leight, GS; Seigler, HF
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