- The laparoscopic approach to adrenal malignancy remains a topic of debate. A retrospective analysis of patients who had an open or laparoscopic adrenalectomy for malignancy at a tertiary care center from 1995 to 2005 were included in this study. Twenty-six cases were identified: 19 women and 7 men with a median age of 48 years (range, 20-81) underwent 12 open (8 adrenocortical carcinoma [ACC] and 4 metastases) and 14 laparoscopic adrenalectomies (5 ACC, 8 metastases, and 1 lymphoma). Conversion to open surgery was required in 1 laparoscopic case (7%). Cases with obvious invasion to adjacent organs were not approached laparoscopically. There was no difference in age, sex, American Society of Anesthesiologists status or diagnosis between the two groups, but patients in the laparoscopic group had a higher body mass index. Two patients required splenectomies for splenic tears in the open group. There was no difference in operative time between the two groups, but estimated blood loss (200 vs. 550 mL; P = 0.01) and hospital stay (2 vs. 7 days; P = 0.005) were less in the laparoscopic group. The size of tumors removed by open surgery was larger than by laparoscopy (8 vs. 4 cm; P = 0.003). No locoregional recurrences are reported so far in the laparoscopic group. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is both feasible and safe for some malignant tumors of the adrenal gland in experienced hands. However, it cannot be applied to all cases. Careful selection, preoperative staging, and respect for oncologic principles are important considerations in choosing laparoscopic surgery for primary and secondary adrenal malignancy. Short-term outcomes are better when the laparoscopic approach is possible. Confirmation and long-term results with further studies are required.