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Are adrenal incidentalomas, which are found by chance on imaging, really harmless? In this paper, the authors looked at 32 studies, including 4121 patients with benign non-functioning adrenal tumours (NFATs) or adenomas that cause mild autonomous cortisol excess (MACE). Only 2.5% of the tumours grew to a clinically significant extent over a mean follow-up period of 50 months, and no one developed adrenal cancer. Of those patients with NFAT or MACE, 99.9% didn’t develop clinically significant hormone (cortisol) excess. This was a group (especially those with MACE) with a high prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. This could be because adrenal adenomas promote cardiometabolic problems, or vice versa, or maybe this group with multimorbidities is more likely be investigated. Adrenal incidentalomas are already found in around 1 in 20 abdominal CT scans, and this rate is likely to increase as imaging improves. So it’s good news that this study supports existing recommendations, which say that follow-up imaging in the 90% of incidentalomas that are smaller than 4 cm diameter is unnecessary. From https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/07/03/ann-robinsons-journal-review-3-july-2019/
A 42-year-old woman who presented to hospital with acute vision loss in her right eye was diagnosed with a benign tumour in her adrenal gland. Writing in BMJ Case Reports, clinicians described how the patient presented with a visual acuity of 6/36 in her right eye and 6/6 in her left eye. Investigations revealed an exudative retinal detachment in her right eye as well as a pigment epithelial detachment. The patient had multifocal central serous retinopathy in both eyes. The woman, who had hypertension and diabetes, was diagnosed with Cushing syndrome and a right adrenal adenoma was also discovered. During a treatment period that spanned several years, the patient received an adrenalectomy followed by a maintenance dose of steroids. The patient subsequently developed central serous retinopathy again which the clinicians believe might be related to steroid use. The authors advised “careful deliberation” in prescribing a maintenance dose of steroids following removal of the adrenal glands because of the potential link to retinopathy. From https://www.aop.org.uk/ot/science-and-vision/research/2018/12/17/vision-loss-the-first-sign-of-adrenal-tumour-in-42-year-old-patient