Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that forms in the mucus-secreting tissues (glands) located throughout the body. Adenocarcinoma can develop in many different organs, including the bowel, esophagus, lungs, pancreas and prostate. Adenocarcinomas in the brain are usually caused when an existing cancer spreads (or metastasizes) to the brain. But there is a rare, aggressive form of adenocarcinoma, called adenoid cystic carcinoma, which starts in the salivary glands and spreads to the base of the skull.



With this kind of cancer, symptoms depend on the location and size of the tumor. Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Speech, vision or memory problems
  • Weakness or loss of sensation in your arms or legs


Your doctors will begin by discussing your medical history and symptoms with you. You will have a physical exam and possibly other tests. Your medical team may recommend: 

  • CT scans
  • MRI scans with a contrast agent (IV dye)
  • A biopsy

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Treatment Options

Dr. Amin Kassam, Aurora’s Vice President of Neurosciences, explains the Expanded Endonasal Approach.

The neurological and neurosurgical specialists at Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute (ANII) will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. This usually includes a combination of surgical, radiosurgical and medical approaches, including: 

  • Corridor-based surgery, in which surgeons make tiny incisions in the scalp to operate through a small, dime-sized tube remove tumors from the brain or brain fluid.
  • Expanded Endonasal Approach (EEA), a minimally invasive surgery that involves a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and fewer scars.
  • CyberKnife® radiosurgery, a non-invasive, robotic system that delivers high-dose radiation to tumors with pinpoint accuracy.
  • Radiation therapy, a process that destroys cancer cells and prevents more from growing.
  • Chemotherapy, a process that uses cancer-fighting drugs to stop the growth of tumors.

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