J Clin Pathol 54:707-712

Adrenal lipomatous tumours: a 30 year clinicopathological experience at a single institution

  1. K Y Lam,
  2. C Y Lo
  1. Department of Pathology, University of Hong Kong Medical Centre, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China
  2. Department of Surgery, University of Hong Kong Medical Centre
  1. Dr Lam akylam{at}
  • Accepted 17 January 2001


Aims—Fatty tumours of the adrenal gland are uncommon and their features have received little attention in the literature. The aim of this study is to analyse the features of adrenal lipomatous tumours.

Methods—The histological features of primary adrenal tumours reported over a 30 year period (1970 to 1999) in Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong were reviewed and the clinicopathological features of adrenal lipomatous tumours were analysed.

Results—Adrenal lipomatous tumours were noted in 20 patients (12 men, eight women), and they accounted for 4.8% of the primary adrenal tumours reported. The adrenal fatty tumours comprised 11 myelolipomas, three lipomas, three teratomas, two angiomyolipomas, and one liposarcoma. Calcification or bone was noted in one third (seven of 20) of the adrenal tumours. In some fatty tumours (myelolipoma and angiomyolipoma), the fatty component may be inconspicuous. This is the first report in the English literature of angiomyolipoma and liposarcoma of the adrenal gland.

Conclusions—Different types of fatty tumours were noted in the adrenal gland. A high index of suspicion should be maintained with an aim of surgical treatment for selected patients with large and symptomatic adrenal lipomatous lesions. Histological confirmation is needed for diagnosis.