Primary adrenal insufficiency as first manifestation of metastatic lung cancer

André Borsatto Zanella, Tatiana Falcão Eyff, José Miguel Dora, Jorge Luiz Gross, Sandra Pinho Silveiro


Primary adrenal insufficiency is, in most cases, caused by infections and autoimmune adrenalitis. Adrenal metastasis are relatively common in lung cancer, but they are usually asymptomatic, even when bilateral. There are few reports of adrenal metastasis as a cause of adrenal insufficiency. We describe a case of primary adrenal insufficiency presenting as the first clinical manifestation of metastatic lung cancer. A 59 year-old, white, smoker woman, complaining of right flank pain associated with nausea and weight loss. Laboratory exams confirmed the diagnosis of primary adrenal insufficiency. It was started treatment with prednisone and fludrocortisone with progressive improvement. At the etiologic investigation, abdominal computadorized tomography (CT) showed bilateral increase of the adrenal glands. It was performed an adrenal biopsy and the cytologic study was positive for malignant cells. It was made another biopsy, of a supraclavicular limph node, and the histopathologic study revealed a metastatic adenocarcinoma, immunohistochemistry study suggested lung as the primary site. Awareness of this diagnosis is important because initial symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are unspecific and may misguidedly be attributed to the neoplasm.


insuficiência adrenal primária; neoplasia pulmonar; metástases adrenais

Copyright (c)

ISSN: 2357-9730




Apoio Financeiro:


Licença Creative Commons
The Clinical & Biomedical Research is licenced under Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional.