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Chemotherapy may be used to treat adrenal cancer that has spread beyond an adrenal gland tumor to distant areas of the body. Because chemo drugs enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body, this systemic treatment can be effective in reaching widespread cancer cells. In most cases, chemotherapy is used along with surgery to remove the adrenal gland, which is usually the primary form of treatment for adrenal gland cancer.

Chemo medications destroy cancerous cells (as well as some healthy cells) by damaging cellular DNA, which interferes with a cell’s ability to grow and divide. The most commonly recommended chemotherapy drug for adrenal cancer is mitotane. In addition to destroying adrenal cancer cells, mitotane suppresses the adrenal gland’s production of hormones. This can be helpful to patients who have functional adrenal gland tumors and are experiencing symptoms related to excess hormone production.

In addition to (or instead of) mitotane, other chemotherapy drugs that may be used to treat adrenal cancer include:

  • Cisplatin
  • 5-fluorouracil
  • Etoposide
  • Vincristine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Paclitaxel

For treating advanced adrenal cancer, chemotherapy drugs are sometimes used in combination. One commonly recommended regimen includes cisplatin, doxorubicin and etoposide. Another is streptozocin plus mitotane.

Moffitt Cancer Center offers a comprehensive range of treatments for adrenal cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Our patients benefit from multiple expert opinions in a single location without referrals. Our multispecialty team also includes a variety of supportive care specialists who can assist a patient in managing the both the physical and emotional side effects of chemo and other cancer treatments.

If you’d like more information about chemotherapy and other treatment options for an adrenal tumor, you can request an appointment with an adrenal cancer expert at Moffitt by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online.


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