Adrenal masses are common findings on abdominal CT or MRI scans (1–7% prevalence with increasing age). The majority of such “incidentalomas” are clinically nonfunctional, and the probability of an adrenal carcinoma is low (<5%) (Fig. 174-2). Genetic syndromes such as MEN 1, MEN 2, Carney syndrome, and McCune-Albright syndrome are all associated with adrenal masses. The first step in evaluation is to determine the functional status by measurement of plasma free metanephrines to screen for pheochromocytoma. In a pt with a known extraadrenal malignancy, there is a 30–50% chance that the incidentaloma is a metastasis. Additional hormonal evaluation should include 24-h urine for urinary free cortisol or overnight 1-mg dexamethasone suppression testing, aldosterone/renin ratio in hypertensives, DHEAS in women with signs of androgen excess, and estradiol in males with feminization. Fine-needle aspiration is rarely indicated and absolutely contraindicated if a pheochromocytoma is suspected. Adrenocortical cancer is suggested by large size (>4–6 cm), irregular margins, tumor inhomogeneity, soft tissue calcifications, and high unenhanced CT attenuation values (>10 HU).

FIGURE 174-2
Management of the pt with an incidentally discovered adrenal mass. CT, computed tomography; F/U, follow-up; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging.

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