We present expressions for the derivatives of the outgoing signal in coaxial cables with respect to the conductivity distribution in a specific domain. The derived expressions can be used with gradient-based optimization methods to design metallic electromagnetic devices, such as antennas and waveguides. We use the adjoint-field method to derive the expressions and the derivation is based on the 3D time-domain Maxwell's equations. We present two derivative expressions; one expression is derived in the continuous case and the second is derived based on the FDTD discretization of Maxwell's equations, including the uniaxial perfectly match layer (UPML) to simulate the radiation boundary condition. The derivatives are validated through a numerical example, where derivatives computed by the adjoint-field method are compared against derivatives computed with finite differences. Up to 7 digits precision matching is obtained.