This is the first of a two-part review on adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), a rare and aggressive malignancy that often presents at an advanced stage. Most patients present with symptoms related to cortisol and/or androgen excess. Appropriate biochemical evaluation and imaging is important in assessing the extent of disease, operative planning, and oncologic surveillance for patients with ACC. For patients with locoregional disease, potential cure requires margin-negative resection, and accumulating evidence suggests that regional lymphadenectomy should be performed. Although laparoscopic adrenalectomy is reported by some to be adequate for localized ACC, open resection in the hands of an experienced adrenal surgeon is the gold standard for operative management of this disease. Cure is rare following disease relapse, however select patients with severe symptoms related to hormone excess or pain may benefit from resection of local or distant recurrence. For best oncologic outcomes, it is recommended that all patients with ACC be treated at centers with multidisciplinary expertise in management of this rare and aggressive malignancy.
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