The Incidental Adrenal Mass on CT: Prevalence of Adrenal Disease in 1,049 Consecutive Adrenal Masses in Patients with No Known Malignancy
Julie H. Song, Fakhra S. Chaudhry, William W. Mayo-Smith
OBJECTIVE. The purpose of our study was to determine the nature and prevalence of adrenal lesions identified on CT in patients with no known malignancy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS. A computer search of abdominal CT reports using the term "adrenal" was performed in 65,231 consecutive patients with examinations performed from January 2000 to December 2003. An adrenal mass was identified in 3,307 (5%) patients. Patients with no known malignancy and no suspicion for a hyperfunctioning adrenal mass were further isolated. Nine hundred seventy-three patients with 1,049 adrenal masses fulfilled the study criteria. The nature of each lesion was determined by histopathology; imaging characterization with CT, MRI, or washout; a minimum of 1 year of stability on follow-up imaging; or clinical follow-up of at least 2 years.
RESULTS. One thousand forty-nine adrenal masses were characterized with the following methods: histopathology in = 12), imaging characterization (n = 909), imaging follow-up (n = 87), and clinical follow-up (n = 41). There were 788 adenomas constituting 75% of all lesions. There were 68 myelolipomas (6%), 47 hematomas (4%), and 13 cysts (1%). Three pheochromocytomas (0.3%) and one cortisol-producing adenoma (0.1%) were found incidentally. One hundred twenty-eight lesions (12%) were presumed to be benign by imaging or clinical stability. No malignant adrenal masses were found, even among the 14 patients who later developed malignancy elsewhere.
CONCLUSION. In 973 consecutive patients with an incidental adrenal mass and no history of cancer, no malignant lesions were identified. Adenomas (75%) and myelolipomas (6%) were the most common lesions.