Rare tumors of the adrenal gland

Shahrazad T. Saab, Liang Cheng, Gregory T. MacLennan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The adrenal gland is essentially composed of two endocrine organs, the cortex and the medulla. Classically, the nosology of primary adrenal tumors is based on their site of origin; whether they arise in the cortex or medulla and whether they are benign or malignant. In general, primary adrenal gland neoplasms have a low prevalence. The most commonly encountered primary neoplasms of the cortex are adrenal cortical adenoma and adrenal cortical carcinoma. Those of the medulla are pheochromocytoma and neuroblastoma, in children. In addition, the adrenal gland has a rich vasculature and peripheral nerve network. Potentially, any of the constituant tissues comprising the adrenal gland can give rise to a neoplasm, either benign or malignant. This chapter will focus on those, sometimes exceedingly, rare primary tumors of the adrenal gland. A common theme for these tumors is that they are commonly asymptomatic and nonsecreting, as they are commonly discovered serendipitously during a work-up for unrelalated causes. Often, the radiologic appearance is non-specific, making the discernment of their nature more challenging without the help of a histologic diagnosis. Historically these lesions were discovered at the time of autopsy. Currently the more common mode of discovery is by radiology as increased medical screening and advances in imaging modalities give rise to more frequent detection of these incidentalomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdrenal Glands: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Evidence
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781634835701
ISBN (Print)9781634835503
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Adenomatoid tumor
  • Cavernous hemangioma
  • Lymphangioma
  • Sarcoma
  • Schwannoma
  • Solitary fibrous tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Saab, S. T., Cheng, L., & MacLennan, G. T. (2015). Rare tumors of the adrenal gland. In Adrenal Glands: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Evidence (pp. 385-410). Nova Science Publishers, Inc..