2016 Volume 38 Issue 2 Pages 155-162
A 78-year-old Japanese man with fatigue, appetite loss, skin hyperpigmentation, hypotension and hypoglycemia, visited our hospital to evaluate an abnormal chest X-ray and adrenal gland swelling in echography in February 2015. Chest computed tomography showed a mass lesion in the right lower lobe and bilateral adrenal swellings, and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with bilateral adrenal metastasis was diagnosed after bronchoscopy. According to low levels of serum cortisol, elevated adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and rapid ACTH test, the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency associated with SCLC was made. Treatment with hydrocortisone (20 mg/day) was started in addition to systemic chemotherapy with carboplatin and etoposide. The patientʼs symptoms were slightly improved, however, systemic chemotherapy was discontinued according to the patientʼs request after 1 course of chemotherapy. Thereafter, he received only supportive care, and his general condition gradually worsened and he ultimately died in August 2015. Adrenal insufficiency associated with SCLC, which is caused by tissue destruction more than 90% of the adrenal glands, is rare although adrenal metastasis is not rare in patients with lung cancer. The findings such as general fatigue, appetite loss, hypotension, and hyponatremia are often got follow up as findings of advanced cancer, but appropriate therapy for adrenal insufficiency, supplement of the adrenal corticosteroid hormone, may lead to a significant improvement in the symptoms and quality of life in clinical practice of lung cancer. Therefore, physicians must consider potential adrenal insufficiency in lung cancer patients with bilateral adrenal metastasis.