The History of Adrenocortical Carcinoma Treatment – A Surgical Perspective



The early history of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is obscure because of the rarity of the disease, confusing nomenclature, inability to diagnose before death, ignorance of its hormonal manifestations, and a vague appreciation of its clinical course. Most reported cases in the 19th century were based on autopsy findings, and the tumors were classified by a variety of terms including hypernephroma, sarcoma, fibromyxosarcoma, and carcinoma. The commonly used term, hypernephroma, was first proposed by Grawitz et al. in 1893 and falsely assumed that tumors arose in rests of adrenocortical tissue within the kidney [1]. This concept was reinforced by Felix Birch-Hirchfield who used it to define benign and malignant tumors of both adrenals and kidneys, some with apparent hormonal disturbances [2]. The designation of hypernephroma for some adrenal tumors persisted in the literature until the 1940s; later it became restricted to what is now referred to as renal cell cancer [3–8].


Adrenal Insufficiency Adrenal Tumor Local Invasion Adrenocortical Carcinoma Adrenal Adenoma 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Surgery Emeritus FacultyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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