• Vol. 36 No. 11, 954–957
  • 15 November 2007

EUS-FNA of the Left Adrenal Gland is Safe and Useful



Introduction: There are limited data on the use of endosonography-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) to determine the nature of left adrenal lesions. We described our experience in performing EUS-FNA of left adrenal lesions. Clinical Picture: During a 20-week period, data on consecutive patients who underwent EUS with or without EUS-FNA were prospectively captured. Patients with a left adrenal mass and who underwent EUS-FNA formed our study population. Treatment: EUS-FNA. Outcome: A total of 119 consecutive patients underwent diagnostic EUS +/- FNA, during which the left adrenal gland was routinely examined. Twelve of these patients underwent EUS as part of lung cancer staging and among these 12 lung cancer patients, 2 had left adrenal masses detected by computed tomography (CT). EUS detected left adrenal nodules in 2 other patients which were not visualised by CT. The overall prevalence of a left adrenal mass was 3.4%; in the subgroup with confirmed lung cancer, the prevalence was 33.3%. All 4 patients were male, with a mean age of 76.3 years (range, 67 to 87). The mean size of the left adrenal lesion was 30.4 mm (range, 9 to 84.8). EUS-FNA of the left adrenal lesions was performed under Doppler guidance. The mean number of needle passes was 2 (range, 1 to 4). A cellular aspirate was obtained in all patients. No procedural complications occurred. Metastatic non-small cell lung cancer was diagnosed in 2 patients, including a lesion missed on CT. For the other 2 cases, EUS-FNA revealed benign adrenal cells. Conclusions: EUS-FNA appears safe and useful for the evaluation of left adrenal masses.

The occurrence of an adrenal mass in patients with an underlying malignancy may represent distant metastases, precluding curative surgical resection of the primary malignancy. On the other hand, it may simply represent a benign adrenal adenoma with no prognostic implications. In a cohort of lung cancer patients, an isolated adrenal mass was found in 10% of cases, but only 32% of these cases were due to metastases, with the remaining 68% being benign adenomas.1 Imaging characteristics alone are unreliable for distinguishing between benign and malignant adrenal lesions. A comparison of morphologic assessment of adrenal glands using computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) against CT-guided tissue sampling showed that diagnostic certainty of metastases could not be obtained in 78% of cases with imaging alone.2 These observations underscore the importance of histological diagnoses in such cases.

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