Pediatric Adrenal Masses

An adrenal mass is a tumor inside an adrenal gland. Some adrenal masses are cancerous (malignant); others are noncancerous (benign).


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What are Pediatric Adrenal Masses?

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. Their job is to produce and secrete several hormones (cortisol, aldosterone, epinephrine, norepinephrine, estrogen). Adrenal masses can cause an increase in the level of hormones that are released.

The exact cause of adrenal masses is unknown. As with all types of tumors, they manifest as a growth of abnormal cells that multiply rapidly.

Certain inherited genetic conditions may put children at risk for adrenal masses:

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Adrenal Masses?

Many children with adrenal masses will not experience any symptoms; in fact, many adrenal masses are discovered during diagnostic testing for other clinical conditions that are unrelated to adrenal disease. For those who do experience symptoms, those symptoms are often related to an excess production of hormones. Symptoms will vary from child to child, but may include:

How are Pediatric Adrenal Masses diagnosed?

There are several methods that are used for diagnosing adrenal masses. Your child’s doctor may use a combination of these methods:

  • History and physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Fine needle biopsy (removal of a small amount of tissue using a thin needle; the tissue is later examined under a microscope)

How is Pediatric Adrenal Masses treated?

  • Surgery 
  • Hormone therapy
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Chemotherapy

Pediatric Adrenal Masses Doctors and Providers