Metabolic and endocrine toxicities of mitotane: A systematic review

Marta Bianchini, Giulia Puliani, Alfonsina Chiefari, Marilda Mormando, Rosa Lauretta, Marialuisa Appetecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Despite the pivotal role of mitotane in adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) management, data on the endocrine toxicities of this treatment are lacking. The aim of this systematic review is to collect the available evidence on the side effects of mitotane on the endocrine and metabolic systems in both children and adults affected by adrenal carcinoma. Sixteen articles on 493 patients were included. Among the adrenal insufficiency, which is an expected side effect of mitotane, 24.5% of patients increased glucocorticoid replacement therapy. Mineralocorticoid insufficiency usually occurred late in treatment in 36.8% of patients. Thyroid dysfunction is characterized by a decrease in FT4, which occurs within 3–6 months of treatment in 45.4% of patients, while TSH seems to not be a reliable marker. Dyslipidemia is characterized by an increase in both LDL‐c and HDL‐c (54.2%). Few studies have found evidence of hypertriglyceridemia. In males, gynecomastia and hypogonadism can occur after 3–6 months of treatment (38.4% and 35.6%, respectively), while in pre‐menopausal women, mitotane can cause ovarian cysts and, less frequently, menstrual disorders. Most of these side effects appear to be reversible after mitotane discontinuation. We finally suggest an algorithm that could guide metabolic and endocrine safety assessments in patients treated with mitotane for ACC.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Adrenocortical cancer
  • Endocrine toxicities
  • Metabolic toxicities
  • mitotane


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