Sarcopenia is Associated with Reduced Survival following Surgery for Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Mechteld C de Jong, Neel Patel, Zaki Hassan-Smith, Radu Mihai, Shahab Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Adrenocortical cancer (ACC) is an aggressive malignancy and robust prognostic factors remain unclear. The presence of sarcopenia has been shown to negatively impact survival for other malignancies, but has not been extensively analyzed in ACC.

Methods: Patients who underwent resection of their ACC between 2010 and 2020 were identified; therapeutic, operative, and outcome data were analyzed. Sarcopenia was assessed by calculation of the skeletal muscle index (SMI) and was defined as an SMI <52.4cm2/m2 for males and <38.5cm2/m2 for females.

Results: Data on 35 patients (18 F: 17 M; median age 54 [range: 18–86]) who had primary surgical treatment were analyzed. Median tumor size was 10 cm [range:3–15]. In eleven patients (31%), the tumor was hormonally active (cortisol = 8;23%). Seventeen patients (49%) were classified as having sarcopenia on their pre-operative CT scan. The Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) for intra- and inter-observer variability showed very good agreement (0.99 and 0.98). There was no difference in incidence of sarcopenia stratifying for sex, BMI, or tumor-size, but incidence was higher with increasing age (p < .05). Overall median survival was 36 months, with 1- and 3-year survival rates of 77% and 52%. The presence of sarcopenia was strongly associated with a shorter overall survival (HR = 3.21; [95%CI: 1.06–9.69];p = .03) on unadjusted analyses. Moreover, age, higher T-stage, and presence of capsular invasion were also associated with poorer survival on univariable analyses.

Conclusion: The presence of sarcopenia in patients undergoing surgery for ACC could be a predictor of reduced overall survival, although replications of these analyses should be performed in similar, larger cohorts. Specifically, the influence of a patient’s hormonal status on the manifestation of sarcopenia should be further defined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
JournalEndocrine Research
Issue number1
Early online date3 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Adrenocortical cancer
  • survival
  • sarcopenia


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