Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Cancer

Adrenal cancer does not always produce symptoms. Both nonfunctioning adrenocortical carcinomas and large functioning tumors may cause the following:

  • Fever
  • Palpable (able to be felt with the fingers) abdominal mass
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Sensation of abdominal "fullness"
  • Weight loss

Additional symptoms of functioning adrenocortical carcinoma depend on which hormones are overproduced. Overproduction of androgens (e.g., dehydroepiandrosterone, estrogen) usually does not produce symptoms in men because the testicles produce testosterone, which is a more potent androgen. Rarely, abnormal breast enlargement (gynecomastia) occurs in men. Excess androgens may cause early puberty in children and masculinization (i.e., abnormal facial and body hair, deepening voice) in women and children.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 16 May 2011