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Adrenal Tumors Treatment Program

Adrenal tumors are treated in the Elizabeth and Michael Ruane Center for Endocrine Tumors, one of the largest programs of its kind in the country.

Explore the Adrenal Tumors Treatment Program


The Elizabeth and Michael Ruane Center for Endocrine Tumors at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is a comprehensive program specializing in the treatment of all types of adrenal tumors:

  • Adrenal tumors, nonfunctional (usually benign)
  • Adrenal tumors, functional (usually benign)
  • Aldosteronoma
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Sex hormone secreting tumors
  • Adrenal cancer either functioning or non-functioning

Although many adrenal conditions are benign (non-cancerous), our program combines the resources of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Endocrinology to provide advanced treatment for all patients.

Innovative Approaches

Our program is one of the largest and most specialized in the country in treating adrenal conditions as well as other disorders of the endocrine system. Among the innovations that make our program distinct are:

  • State-of-the art radiology technology for imaging adrenal tumors. These include adrenal protocol CT scans, adrenal protocol MRI scans, MIBG and octreotide radionuclide scans
  • The most advanced endocrinology and radiology testing to determine abnormalities of adrenal function, including bilateral adrenal vein catheterization
  • The most advanced surgical techniques
  • High volume surgical expertise
  • Expertise in molecular diagnostics of adrenal tumors
  • Advanced clinical trials to find better therapies for adrenal cancers

Adrenal tumors are treated in the Elizabeth and Michael Ruane Center for Endocrine Tumors, one of the largest programs of its kind in the country.

Diagnostic Expertise

Imaging tests are most commonly used to evaluate and diagnose adrenal tumors. Our center features the most state-of-the art imaging facilities available, including:

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • PET/CT scan
  • MIBG scan: a specialty technology that is used to detect adrenal pheochromocytomas, extra-adrenal pheochromocytomas (paragangliomas) and metastatic pheochromocytomas. Octreotide scanning is also used for extra-adrenal paragangliomas particularly those of the head and neck
  • Angiography and adrenal venous sampling

Excellence in Surgical Care

Adrenal surgery has been revolutionized with the development of operative laparoscopy, a minimally invasive approach that removes the affected gland while minimizing post-operative pain and overall recovery time. Our surgeons conduct a high volume of these procedures and research has shown that outcomes improve when patients are treated in high volume facilities.

Laparoscopic surgical removal of an affected adrenal gland is the standard of care in most cases and is highly effective therapy.

Surgical Outcomes & Performance

The Center for Outcomes & Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS) ensures that surgical data is transparent and accessible for patients. Watch the video to view Mass General's performance for procedures to treat conditions of the adrenal, thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Multidisciplinary Patient Care

Patients in the Center for Endocrine Tumors may be cared for by a coordinated team of experts, which include:

  • Endocrinologists with expertise in diagnosing and treating adrenal conditions, including diagnosing those with familial genetic syndromes involving the adrenals and excess production of certain hormones. They also have experience in evaluating incidentally detected adrenal tumors so they can be followed properly long term. They provide care for patients whose adrenal glands have been removed surgically or inhibited with chemotherapy
  • Surgeons who are leading the way in performing and developing the most advanced surgical approaches for adrenal tumors including laparoscopic adrenalectomy and partial (cortical sparing) adrenalectomy
  • Diagnostic and interventional radiologists who utilize an array of medical imaging techniques including MRI, CT scans, ultrasound, adrenal vein catheterization and angiography to locate and biopsy adrenal tumors when indicated. Interventional radiologists who are capable of treating benign and malignant adrenal tumors with radiofrequency ablation in selected cases
  • Nuclear medicine physicians who utilize radionuclide scans such as MIBG and octreotide to image both benign and malignant
  • Endocrine pathologists who examine fine needle aspiration and core biopsies as well as pathological specimens of adrenal tumors. Molecular diagnostics are used when indicated
  • Endocrine (Medical) oncologists who prescribe the most effective chemotherapy and medications
  • Radiation oncologists who specialize in delivering the optimal therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Support services, including specialized nursing staff, social workers, psychiatrists, nutritionists and others

Clinical Trials

The Elizabeth and Michael Ruane Center for Endocrine Tumors is conducting clinical trials for patients with advanced endocrine cancers, and the adrenal tumor center is active in clinical research, with collaborative studies involving surgery, medical endocrinology, radiology and pathology.

View our open clinical trials.

Patient Story

Patient Resources

Endocrine Tumor Genetics Program

Endocrine Tumor Genetics Program

We help to identify families that may have a hereditary risk for endocrine tumors.

Division of Endocrinology

Division of Endocrinology

Learn about the resources of the Division of Endocrinology.

Adrenal Tumor Surgery

Adrenal Tumor Surgery

Read more about adrenal tumor surgery.

Preparing for Your Visit

Preparing for Your Visit

A checklist of items to bring with you for your first visit and helpful information.

Supportive Care

Supportive Care

We offer a variety of education and support resources to help you and your family.

Workshops & Support Groups

Workshops & Support Groups

We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups.

Contact the Mass General Cancer Center

Contact us to make an appointment or to learn more about our programs.