Although medical professionals are still studying possible causes of adrenal cancer, they do know that DNA mutations play a significant role. Normally, DNA instructs cells to reproduce at a specific rate and self-destruct after a certain period of time. DNA mutations, however, can cause cells to reproduce at an abnormal rate and live much longer than intended.
There are two specific DNA mutations that are thought to be causes of adrenal cancer:
- Mutations that turn on oncogenes, or the genes that promote cell division
- Mutations that turn off tumor suppressor genes, which destroy or slow down the division of abnormal cells
When a person’s DNA instructs his or cells to accumulate in mass quantities, a small cluster, or tumor, can develop as a result. If these cells are malignant, the tumor can slowly invade the surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the body. (When cells are benign, as is the case with most adrenal adenomas, they can continue to accumulate but do not spread into nearby tissues or distant organs.)
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we have a designated research team that provides ongoing insight into the development and treatment of adrenal tumors. Our endocrine cancer research program has generated many advances in the field, and for our efforts, we have been named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
Referrals are never required to make an appointment at Moffitt. To learn more about adrenal cancer causes, you can schedule a consultation with one of our expert oncologists by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online.