The following is a summary of “Prevalence of Functioning Adrenal Incidentalomas: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” published in the July 2023 issue of Endocrinology & Metabolism by Sconfienza, et al.
Adrenal incidentalomas (AI) are associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic complications due to adrenal hyperfunction. Obtaining accurate prevalence estimates of distinct types of functioning AIs is crucial for efficient resource allocation and effective management strategies. For a study, researchers sought to ascertain the prevalence of various forms of autonomous hormone secretion in individuals diagnosed with adrenal incidentaloma, including autonomous/possible autonomous cortisol secretion (ACS), primary aldosteronism (PA), pheochromocytoma (PHEO), and Cushing syndrome (CS).
A comprehensive and systematic search was conducted across multiple databases (PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, Web of Science) up to February 2022. Among the 1,661 publications initially screened at the title and abstract levels, 161 articles underwent full-text examination, and ultimately, 36 studies were included for analysis. Three independent reviewers meticulously extracted clinical data from these selected studies.
The overarching prevalence of functioning adrenal incidentalomas was 27.5% (95% CI 23.0, 32.5). The highest prevalence was observed for ACS/possible ACS, with a rate of 11.7% (95% CI 8.6, 15.7), followed by PA at 4.4% (95% CI 3.1, 6.2). Subgroup analysis unveiled a greater prevalence of PA in patients from Asian regions than those from Europe/America. Conversely, the prevalence of ACS/possible ACS was comparatively lower in Asian countries. Meta-regression analysis elucidated that the proportion of female patients influenced the prevalence of ACS/possible ACS, while PA prevalence positively correlated with the proportion of patients with hypertension and the publication year. PHEO and CS demonstrated prevalences of 3.8% (95% CI 2.8, 5.0) and 3.1% (95% CI 2.3, 4.3), respectively.
The comprehensive meta-analysis offered valuable insights into the prevalence rates of diverse types of functioning adrenal incidentalomas and identified influential factors contributing to heterogeneity in these estimates. The findings contributed significantly to understanding clinical implications and aided in devising effective management strategies for individuals diagnosed with these adrenal disorders.