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Non-invasive Methods for Characterizing Adrenocortical Tumors

Researchers at the NCI developed a non-invasive method for distinguishing benign from malignant adrenocortical tumors using urine samples. The NCI seeks parties to co-develop a non-invasive, diagnostic method of distinguishing between benign and malignant adrenocortical tumors through the analysis of metabolites using urine samples.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • adrenocortical cancer, ACC, malignant, metabolite
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

Adrenocortical neoplasms are commonly found in patients, yet malignant tumors resulting in adrenocortical cancer (ACC) are rare. An accurate diagnosis of ACC is important to a). determine the proper therapeutic strategy for patients, and b). mitigate the costs and risks of invasive surgeries. Improved pre-operative diagnostics would preclude unnecessary surgical intervention on benign adrenocortical neoplasms and lead to appropriate treatment options for malignant adrenocortical cancer (ACC).

Researchers at the NCI Endocrine Oncology Branch developed a non-invasive method to detect (ACC) in urine. They identified four metabolite markers in patient urine samples and have shown that these are sensitive and specific to malignant adrenocortical tumors: creatine riboside, L-tryptophan, N,N,N-trimethyl-L-lysine, and 3-methylhistidine. This method differentiates benign and malignant tumors, and helps clinicians decide the best treatment options.

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Urine-based diagnostic platforms to identify malignant adrenocortical tumors using biomarkers
Competitive Advantages
  • First non-invasive diagnosis of adrenocortical cancer using urine samples
  • Differentiation between malignant and benign adrenocortical tumors without surgical intervention

Dhaval T. Patel (NCI), Kristopher W. Krausz (NCI), Frank J. Gonzalez (NCI), Electron Kebebew (NCI), Matthew D. Thompson (NCI)

Development Stage

Patel D et al. [PMID 28450405]

Patent Status
  • U.S. Provisional: U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 62/186,218, Filed 29 Jun 2015
  • Foreign Filed: Foreign Filed - Patent Application PCT/US2016/040148, Filed 29 Jun 2016
Therapeutic Area
Tuesday, April 7, 2020