The evaluation of incidentally discovered adrenal masses

behalf of the AACE Pituitary, Gonad, Adrenal, and Neuroendocrine Disease State Network

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this Disease State Clinical Review is to provide clinicians with a practical approach to the evaluation of incidentally discovered adrenal masses. Methods: A case-based clinical approach to the evaluation of adrenal masses is presented. Recommendations were developed using available prospective and randomized studies, cohort studies, cross-sectional studies, anecdotal observations, and expert opinions. Results: Incidentally discovered adrenal masses are common. The approach to the patient with an adrenal mass should involve assessment of malignant potential via imaging characteristics and adrenal hormone excess via clinical and biochemical features. The roles of biopsy, surgical or medical therapy, and longitudinal surveillance are also important to consider and are influenced by case-specific factors. Inappropriate or inadequate evaluations may put patients at increased risk for developing preventable adverse cardiometabolic outcomes or cancer. Conclusion: Incidentally discovered adrenal masses require a multimodal assessment that involves interpretation of multiple imaging characteristics, dynamic and static hormonal measurements, and a nuanced approach to considering interventional diagnostics, treatments, and longitudinal surveillance. Herein, we review these evaluations and provide a practical approach for clinicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-192
Number of pages15
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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