Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare endocrine malignancy arising from the adrenal cortex often with unexpected biological behavior. It can occur at any age, with two peaks of incidence: in the first and between fifth and seventh decades of life. Although ACC are mostly hormonally active, precursors and metabolites, rather than end products of steroidogenesis are produced by dedifferentiated and immature malignant cells. Distinguishing the etiology of adrenal mass, between benign adenomas, which are quite frequent in general population, and malignant carcinomas with dismal prognosis is often unfeasible. Even after pathohistological analysis, diagnosis of adrenocortical carcinomas is not always straightforward and represents a great challenge for experienced and multidisciplinary expert teams. No single imaging method, hormonal work-up or immunohistochemical labelling can definitively prove the diagnosis of ACC. Over several decades’ great efforts have been made in finding novel reliable and available diagnostic and prognostic factors including steroid metabolome profiling or target gene identification. Despite these achievements, the 5-year mortality rate still accounts for approximately 75% to 90%, ACC is frequently diagnosed in advanced stages and therapeutic options are unfortunately limited. Therefore, imperative is to identify new biological markers that can predict patient prognosis and provide new therapeutic options.
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