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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Your Question

Can you tell me anything about hidradenocarcinoma?  My sister has it and the doctor didn't know much about it.  And I can't find much on it.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is hidradenocarcinoma?

Hidradenocarcinoma is a tumor caused by the abnormal growth of cells in a sweat gland.  It is a type of cancer that usually begins as a single spot (lesion) on the skin of the head or neck, but it has also been found on other parts of the body.[1][2]  This type of tumor typically develops in older individuals (after age 40).[2]  Each hidradenocarcinoma develops differently over time; some may stay the same size and others grow rapidly.  Sometimes it may spread into nearby tissues, or to more distant parts of the body in a process called metastasis.  It is not known why some hidradenocarcinomas progress rapidly while others remain stable.[2]
Last updated: 9/25/2013

How might hidradenocarcinoma be treated?

Because hidradenocarcinoma is quite rare, there are no established guidelines for treatment.  Treatment is determined by the size and location of each particular cancer and the extent to which cancer cells may have spread to nearby lymph nodes or tissues.  Surgery is often the first step and aims to remove as much of the cancer as possible.[2]  Both a traditional surgical technique, known as wide local excision, and the newer Mohs micrographic surgery have been used to remove hidradenocarcinomas.  Radiation therapy, performed by a doctor known as radiation oncologist, has been used after surgery in patients with hidradenocarcinoma to destroy any cancer cells that may remain at the original location of the tumor or in the lymph nodes.[2][3]  Chemotherapy, performed by a doctor known as a medical oncologist, has not yet been proven as effective treatment for hidradenocarcinomas.[1]
Last updated: 11/17/2011

How common is hidradenocarcinoma?

Cancers of the sweat gland (including hidradenocarcinoma) are considered rare and are estimated to occur in about 0.05% of individuals (1 in 2000) in the United States.[4]
Last updated: 9/25/2013

  • Wong A, Mollick DK, Siegel, DM. Eccrine Carcinoma. eMedicine. March 26, 2010; Accessed 10/25/2010.
  • Gauerke S, Driscoll JJ. Hidradenocarcinoma: A Brief Review and Future Directions. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. May 2010; 134:781-785. Accessed 11/17/2011.
  • Yavel R, Hinshaw M, Rao V, Hartig GK, Harari PM, Stewart D, Snow SN. Hidradenomas and a hidradenocarcinoma of the scalp managed using Mohs micrographic surgery and a multidisciplinary approach: case reports and review of the literature. Dermatologic Surgery. 2009; 35:273-281. Accessed 11/16/2011.
  • Gauerke S, Driscoll JJ. Hidradenocarcinomas: A Brief Review and Future Directions. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. May 2010;