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1.  Anthropometric Measures and Fasting Insulin Levels in Children Before and after Cure of Cushing syndrome 
Background & Aims
Children with Cushing syndrome present with growth delay and excess adiposity that tends to be generalized rather than centripetal. There are no prospective studies of this phenotype as it evolves before and after treatment in children. The aims of this study were to evaluate children prior to and one-year after surgical cure compared to controls and to determine fasting insulin levels and their possible association with waist circumference and waist-height ratio, pre- and post-cure of Cushing syndrome.
30 children with Cushing syndrome were evaluated prior to and one-year post-treatment and compared to 14 age and body mass index-matched controls.
Only triceps skin fold z- score showed a significant difference between patients with active Cushing syndrome and controls. A positive correlation between fasting insulin levels and waist circumference z- score was found for children with Cushing syndrome; this association persisted one-year following cure.
Unlike adults affected with Cushing syndrome, upper arm muscle area of children with Cushing syndrome did not differ from obese children without Cushing syndrome. The persistence of a positive correlation between waist circumference and fasting insulin despite remission of Cushing syndrome suggests that children with a history of Cushing syndrome may have an increased risk for adverse long-term effects of increased abdominal fat mass.
Clinical Trial numbers: NCT00001595, NCT00001452, NCT00005927
PMCID: PMC3319516  PMID: 22154461
Cushing; pediatric; obesity; insulin resistance; waist circumference; anthropometrics
2.  High Prevalence of Normal Tests Assessing Hypercortisolism in Subjects with Mild and Episodic Cushing’s Syndrome Suggests that the Paradigm for Diagnosis and Exclusion of Cushing’s Syndrome Requires Multiple Testing 
Many Endocrinologists believe that a single determination of eucortisolism or a single demonstration of appropriate suppression to dexamethasone excluded Cushing’s syndrome, except in what was previously thought to be the rare patient with episodic or periodic Cushing’s syndrome. We hypothesize that episodic Cushing’s syndrome is relatively common and a single test assessing hypercortisolism may not be sufficient to accurately rule out or diagnose Cushing’s syndrome and retrospectively examined the number of normal and abnormal tests assessing hypercortisolism performed on multiple occasions in 66 patients found to have mild and/or episodic Cushing’s syndrome compared to a similar group of 54 patients evaluated for, but determined not to have Cushing’s syndrome. We found that 65 of the 66 patients with Cushing’s syndrome had at least one normal test of cortisol status and most patients had several normal tests. The probability of having Cushing’s syndrome when one test was negative was 92 % for 23:00 h salivary cortisol, 88 % for 24-h UFC, 86 % for 24-h 17OHS, and 54 % for nighttime plasma cortisol. These results demonstrated that episodic hypercortisolism is highly prevalent in subjects with mild Cushing’s syndrome and no single test was effective in conclusively diagnosing or excluding the condition. Rather, the paradigm for the diagnosis should be a careful history and physical examination and in those patients in whom mild Cushing’s syndrome/disease is strongly suspected, multiple tests assessing hypercortisolism should be performed on subsequent occasions, especially when the patient is experiencing signs and symptoms of short-term hypercortisolism.
PMCID: PMC2978784  PMID: 20803415
Cushing’s syndrome; episodic; periodic; urinary free cortisol; salivary cortisol; cortisol-binding globulin; 17-hydroxycorticosteroids
3.  Risk of cardiovascular events in people prescribed glucocorticoids with iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome: cohort study 
Objective To investigate whether there is an increased risk of cardiovascular events in people who exhibit iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome during treatment with glucocorticoids.
Design Cohort study.
Setting 424 UK general practices contributing to The Health Improvement Network database.
Participants People prescribed systemic glucocorticoids and with a diagnosis of iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome (n=547) and two comparison groups: those prescribed glucocorticoids and with no diagnosis of iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome (n=3231) and those not prescribed systemic glucocorticoids (n=3282).
Main outcome measures Incidence of cardiovascular events within a year after diagnosis of iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome or after a randomly selected date, and association between iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome and risk of cardiovascular events.
Results 417 cardiovascular events occurred in 341 patients. Taking into account only the first event by patient (coronary heart disease n=177, heart failure n=101, ischaemic stroke n=63), the incidence rates of cardiovascular events per 100 person years at risk were 15.1 (95% confidence interval 11.8 to 18.4) in those prescribed glucocorticoids and with a diagnosis of iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome, 6.4 (5.5 to 7.3) in those prescribed glucocorticoids without a diagnosis of iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome, and 4.1 (3.4 to 4.8) in those not prescribed glucocorticoids. In multivariate analyses adjusted for sex, age, intensity of glucocorticoid use, underlying disease, smoking status, and use of aspirin, diabetes drugs, antihypertensive drugs, lipid lowering drugs, or oral anticoagulant drugs, the relation between iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome and cardiovascular events was strong (adjusted hazard ratios 2.27 (95% confidence interval 1.48 to 3.47) for coronary heart disease, 3.77 (2.41 to 5.90) for heart failure, and 2.23 (0.96 to 5.17) for ischaemic cerebrovascular events). The adjusted hazard ratio for any cardiovascular event was 4.16 (2.98 to 5.82) when the group prescribed glucocorticoids and with iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome was compared with the group not prescribed glucocorticoids.
Conclusion People who use glucocorticoids and exhibit iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome should be aggressively targeted for early screening and management of cardiovascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3408386  PMID: 22846415
4.  Successful treatment for adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia with laparoscopic adrenalectomy: a case series 
Adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia, characterized by bilateral macronodular adrenal hypertrophy and autonomous cortisol production, is a rare cause of Cushing’s syndrome. Bilateral adrenalectomy is considered the standard treatment for adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia but obliges the patient to receive lifetime steroid replacement therapy subsequently, and may increase the patient’s risk of adrenal insufficiency. These circumstances require surgeons to carefully consider operative strategies on an individual basis.
Case presentation
We performed successful laparoscopic adrenalectomy on four patients with adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia. Computed tomography scans showed bilateral adrenal enlargement in all patients. Case 1: a 56-year-old Japanese woman presented with obvious Cushing’s symptoms during treatment for diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Case 2: a 37-year-old Japanese man also presented with Cushing’s symptoms during treatment for diabetes mellitus and hypertension. These patients were diagnosed as Cushing’s syndrome caused by adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia based on endocrinologic testing, and underwent bilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy. Case 3: an 80-year-old Japanese woman was hospitalized due to unusual weight gain and heightened general fatigue, and was diagnosed as Cushing’s syndrome caused by adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia. She underwent unilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy due to high operative risk. Case 4: a 66-year-old Japanese man was discovered to have bilateral adrenal tumors on medical examination. He did not have Cushing’s symptoms and was diagnosed as subclinical Cushing’s syndrome due to suppressed adrenocorticotropic hormone serum levels and loss of cortisol circadian rhythm without abnormal levels of serum cortisol. He underwent unilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy. During follow-up, serum cortisol levels were within the normal range in all cases, and serum adrenocorticotropic hormone levels were not suppressed. Further, cases with Cushing’s syndrome experienced clinical improvement.
We were able to effectively treat adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia in patients with obvious Cushing’s symptoms by laparoscopic bilateral adrenalectomy, which promptly improved symptoms. Further, unilateral adrenalectomy was effective for treating an older patient at high operative risk and a patient with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3469390  PMID: 22989371
5.  Cardiac Structure and Function in Cushing's Syndrome: A Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study 
Patients with Cushing's syndrome have left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and dysfunction on echocardiography, but echo-based measurements may have limited accuracy in obese patients. No data are available on right ventricular (RV) and left atrial (LA) size and function in these patients.
The objective of the study was to evaluate LV, RV, and LA structure and function in patients with Cushing's syndrome by means of cardiac magnetic resonance, currently the reference modality in assessment of cardiac geometry and function.
Eighteen patients with active Cushing's syndrome and 18 volunteers matched for age, sex, and body mass index were studied by cardiac magnetic resonance. The imaging was repeated in the patients 6 months (range 2–12 mo) after the treatment of hypercortisolism.
Compared with controls, patients with Cushing's syndrome had lower LV, RV, and LA ejection fractions (P < .001 for all) and increased end-diastolic LV segmental thickness (P < .001). Treatment of hypercortisolism was associated with an improvement in ventricular and atrial systolic performance, as reflected by a 15% increase in the LV ejection fraction (P = .029), a 45% increase in the LA ejection fraction (P < .001), and an 11% increase in the RV ejection fraction (P = NS). After treatment, the LV mass index and end-diastolic LV mass to volume ratio decreased by 17% (P < .001) and 10% (P = .002), respectively. None of the patients had late gadolinium myocardial enhancement.
Cushing's syndrome is associated with subclinical biventricular and LA systolic dysfunctions that are reversible after treatment. Despite skeletal muscle atrophy, Cushing's syndrome patients have an increased LV mass, reversible upon correction of hypercortisolism.
PMCID: PMC4223435  PMID: 25093618
6.  Endoscopic Trans Planum Trans Inter Cavernous Sinus (ETPTICS) approach to pituitary microadenoma: introduction of a novel technique to enhance endocrinological outcome 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 38.
Endoscopic transnasal approach to pituitary adenoma surgery has been recently introduced as an efficient alternative for traditional transcranial and conventional microscopic transnasal approaches. Recent studies have shown the advantages of this technique such as better cosmetic outcomes, low complication rate, lower duration of the surgery, higher patient satisfaction, and better tumor resection, compared to microscopic technique especially in large tumors with extensions into adjacent structures and tissues. Surgery for secreting microadenoma has been always a big surgical challenge in term of achieving full treatment especially in Cushing’s syndrome.
A total of 12 cases secretory microadenoma was performed during 2011. Transplanum trans-intercavernous sinus approaches were used for better searching of the gland for microadenoma and checking the dural side adjacent for microadenoma since they were very useful in multi microadenoma and bilateral cases detections. In this approach, conventional techniques step by step were followed until the sellar floor was perforated. At this step, more resection of sellar bone was performed both anteriorly and posteriorly toward planum sphenoidale to expose intercavernous sinuses. Then, following careful bipolar cautery of the intercavernous sinuses, they were incised along with dura of the sellar floor. This approach makes an excellent view of the sella and pituitary adenoma as well as the pituitary gland itself and its stalk.
A total of 330 cases of pituitary adenoma underwent the endoscopic transsphenoidal (ETSS) surgery during 2005-2012. Of them, there were 27 cases of microadenoma, 15 of which underwent the surgery through classic ETSS and the rest (12 patients) were operated using ETPTICS. In the first group (conventional ETSS), 11 patients (73%) were completely recovered and only 2 cases showed recurrence after one year (both were Cushing’s syndrome).
In the second group (ETPTICS), postoperative follow-up (5 months) assessments showed that all of 12 patients showed remission criteria with no recurrence. There was no postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak or any complication in both groups. There were 2 cases of transient diabetes insipidus (DI, unrelated to diabetes mellitus) in the ETSS group, while the other group showed 4 cases. However no permanent DI was observed in both groups.
Findings of the present study showed that application of ETPTICS approach can increase the endocrinological remission rate that was a formidable task in cases with multiple microadenoma or Cushing’s syndrome with normal MRI and microadenoma touching the cavernous sinus or invading the dura.
Hypothetically, the chance of CSF leak might be higher in this novel technique that was efficiently controlled using meticulous repair. Furthermore, meticulous care by pituitary stalk blood supply should be implemented to avoid anterior pituitary insufficiency and permanent DI. Tin tituitary insufficiency and permanent DI are to be avoided.
Endoscopic Transplanum Tran intercavernous sinus (ETPTICS), Pituitary, Endocrinological
PMCID: PMC3571564
7.  Screening for Cushing’s Syndrome in Obese Patients 
Clinics  2010;65(1):9-13.
The aim of this study was to examine the frequency of Cushing’s syndrome (CS) in obese patients devoid of specific clinical symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome.
A total of 150 obese patients (129 female, 21 male; mean age 44.41 ± 13.34 yr; mean BMI 35.76 ± 7.13) were included in the study. As a first screening step, we measured 24-h urinary free cortisol (UFC). An overnight 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test was also performed on all patients. Urinary free cortisol levels above 100 μg/24 h were considered to be abnormal. Suppression of serum cortisol <1.8 μg/dL after administration of 1 mg dexamethasone was the cut-off point for normal suppression. The suppression of the serum cortisol levels failed in all of the patients.
Measured laboratory values were as follows: ACTH, median level 28 pg/ml, interquartile range (IQR) 14–59 pg/ml; fasting glucose, 100 (91–113) mg/dL; insulin, 15.7 (7.57–24.45) mU/ml; fT4, 1.17 (1.05–1.4) ng/dL; TSH, 1.70 (0.91–2.90) mIU/L; total cholesterol, 209 (170.5–250) mg/dL; LDL-c, 136 (97.7–163) mg/dL; HDL-c, 44 (37.25–50.75) mg/dL; VLDL-c, 24 (17–36) mg/dL; triglycerides, 120.5 (86–165) mg/dL. The median UFC level of the patients was 30 μg/24 h (IQR 16–103). High levels of UFC (>100 μg/24 h) were recorded in 37 patients (24%). Cushing’s syndrome was diagnosed in 14 of the 150 patients (9.33%). Etiologic reasons for Cushing’s syndrome were pituitary microadenoma (9 patients), adrenocortical adenoma (3 patients), and adrenocortical carcinoma (1 patient).
A significant proportion (9.33%) of patients with simple obesity were found to have Cushing’s syndrome. These findings argue that obese patients should be routinely screened for Cushing’s syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2815288  PMID: 20126340
Cushing’s syndrome; Obesity; Screening; Cortisol; Adrenocorticorticotropic hormone
8.  P36 - Severe Osteoporosis in Cushing’s Syndrome 
Cushing’s syndrome is characterised by a series of clinical manifestations due to hypersecretion of cortisol. These include: arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus (DM), asthenia, amenorrhea, osteoporosis and pathological fractures. We describe the case of a 70-year-old woman with Cushing’s syndrome with right adrenal adenoma, vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) and severe secondary osteoporosis. This patient had been diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome in May 2008, three years after the onset of arterial hypertension and type II DM, treated with insulin; in July 2008, she underwent right adrenalectomy and replacement therapy with cortisone acetate, 37.5 mg/day, in association with a multiple drug regimen for hypertension and DM; she also had an at least 10-year history of dorso-lumbar pain with multiple disc protrusions. As part of a series of investigations for Cushing’s syndrome the patient underwent femoral bone mineral densitometry, recording a T-score <−3, radiographic examination of the dorso-lumbar spine, which revealed collapse of the superior endplate of D7 and a wedge fracture of D8. At the endocrinology centre of reference for Cushing’s syndrome, she began treatment with alendronate 70 mg/day without undergoing blood chemistry tests of bone metabolism and without calcium and vitamin D supplementation. At the end of August 2009, she experienced worsening spinal pain due to a new severe fracture of D9, which was confirmed on MRI as a recent fracture. At the end of December 2009 she received kyphoplasty of D9, antiresorptive therapy and a CAMP-C35 brace.
In January 2010 she was admitted to the specialist rehabilitation unit for functional recovery, in view of her comorbidities, and bone disease investigation, with collection of history relating to osteoporosis risk factors. First- and second-level blood chemistry analyses revealed the presence of iron-deficiency anaemia, mild chronic renal insufficiency, and secondary hyerparathyroidism (PTH 101ng/ml); spinal radiography revealed severe VCFs of D7, D8 and D9, treated with kyphoplasty; the patient was also assessed using the VAS for pain, the FIM to evaluate independence in activities of daily living, and the SF-36 to investigate quality of life. The alendronate treatment was suspended and the patient was given cholecalciferol 300,000 IU, administered as an oral bolus, followed by a maintenance dose of 800 IU/day. When PTH values had returned to normal, she began treatment with teriparatide 20 mcg/day s.c. (therapeutic plan in compliance with Note 79 issued by the AIFA - Italian Drug Agency).
In conclusion, this case underlines the importance of a correct diagnostic and therapeutic approach in patients with severe osteoporosis. Over time, we will evaluate the efficacy of the treatment in preventing new fractures and the whether the use of a bone anabolic agent might be the correct choice also in order to control pain and improve quality of life. There are no reports in the literature of patients with Cushing’s syndrome treated with teriparatide.
PMCID: PMC3213844
9.  Case report: nocardia infection associated with ectopic cushings 
Cushing’s syndrome results from exposure to excess glucocorticoids. Ectopic Cushings is endogenous ACTH dependant form of Cushing’s associated with markedly raised ACTH and cortisol levels. This leads to an impaired immune response, setting the stage for occurrence of opportunistic infections. Nocardiosis is a gram positive bacterial infection caused by aerobic actinomycetes in genus Nocardia. We report a series of patients diagnosed with ectopic Cushings, having pneumonia with Nocardia spp. In one of these cases, the manifestations of Cushing’s disappeared with treatment for Nocardia.
Case presentation
Two middle aged men of Asian descent presented to the Endocrine clinic: the first with history of exertional shortness of breath, and weight loss for 1 year, the other with facial swelling, disturbed sleep and lethargy for a month. The third case was a young Asian male who presented with progressive weakness & weight loss for 2 months. All three patients had uncontrolled hypertension, high blood sugars & were hypokalemic (K: 2.52, 2.9, 1.5 mmol/l); 24 hour urine cortisol was elevated at 2000, 27216 and 9088 (32-243 ug/24 hours); ACTH 68.5, 159, 255 [0–48 pg/ml), respectively. Their MRI pituitary was normal, inferior petrosal sinus sampling revealed no central peripheral gradient. CT chest of these subjects demonstrated cavitatory lung lesions; microscopic analysis of respiratory samples was suggestive of infection with Nocardia spp. Histopathology of bronchoscopic-guided biopsy revealed no malignancy. Antihypertensives, insulin, potassium replacement, ketoconazole & trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (TS) were initiated. The patients’ symptomatology improved & cavitatory lesions resolved with treatment. The primary source for the ectopic cushings remained unknown. The first case required bilateral adrenalectomy. The second case followed a progressively downhill course leading to death. In the third case, we were able to completely taper off ketoconazole, potassium, insulin & antihypertensives, after starting TS.
Opportunistic infections are known to be associated with Cushing’s syndrome, and higher levels of glucocorticoid secretion are found in patients with ectopically produced ACTH. Pulmonary nocardiosis is important differential to consider. This series includes the first case reported in which signs and symptoms of cushings subsided after treatment of Nocardia.
PMCID: PMC4079169  PMID: 24950706
ACTH Adrenocorticotrophin Hormone; TS trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole; IPSS inferior petrosal sinus sampling
10.  Mutiple Spontaneous Rib Fractures in Patient with Cushing's Syndrome 
Journal of Bone Metabolism  2014;21(4):277-282.
Glucocorticoid (GC) excess, including Cushing's syndrome, is a common cause of secondary osteoporosis. Thirty to fifty percent of Cushing's syndrome patients experience non-traumatic fractures, which is often the presenting manifestation of Cushing's syndrome. However, there have been rare cases of Cushing's syndrome diagnosed only based upon bone manifestations. We describe a case of Cushing's syndrome that was diagnosed in a 44-year-old woman who initially visited our hospital due to multiple non-traumatic rib fractures. She did not exhibit any other manifestations of Cushing's syndrome such as moon face, buffalo hump or abdominal striae. Initially, we evaluated her for bone metastases from a cancer of unknown origin, but there was no evidence of metastatic cancer. Instead, we found a left adrenal incidentaloma. As a result of the hormone study, she was diagnosed as having Cushing's syndrome. Interestingly, her bony manifestation of Cushing's syndrome, which was evident in the bone scan and bone mineral densitometry, completely recovered after a left adrenalectomy. Therefore, the possibility of Cushing's syndrome as a cause of secondary osteoporosis should be considered in young patients with non-traumatic multiple fractures, with or without any other typical features of Cushing's syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4255049  PMID: 25489577
Cushing syndrome; Fractures spontaneous; Osteoporosis
11.  A Study of Clinical Characteristicsof Mediastinal Mass 
Background: Mediastinal tumours are uncommon lesions encountered in clinical practice. There has been a significant increase in the incidence of malignant mediastinal tumours over the past four decades. The presentation varies from asymptomatic lesions detected incidentally on imaging to severe life threatening presentations.
Aim and Objectives: The study was conducted to assess the clinical characteristics, types, treatment modalities and outcome of mediastinal masses.
Materials and Methods: In this two year prospective study, a total of 35 cases with or without symptoms of mediastinal mass, confirmed by Computed Tomography (CT) imaging were included. The results were expressed as percentages or proportions.
Results: Maximum numbers of patients (25.71%) were seen in the 3rd decade and majority (94.3%) was symptomatic at presentation. Malignant lesions (68.57%) were more common than benign (31.43%) and lymphoma was the commonest malignant tumour (50%). Mediastinal widening on chest X-ray was seen in 27 cases (77.14%), pleural effusion and lung mass in 5 cases each (14.29%). On CT imaging and sub-classification, anterior mediastinum was the commonest compartment involved (42.86%).
Conclusion: Mediastinal masses are usually symptomatic at presentation. Majority of the masses were malignant lesions and the symptoms of mediastinal obstruction was significantly higher in malignant lesions and anterior mediastinal masses. Lymphoma was the most frequent primary mediastinal mass and thymoma constituted the commonest benign anterior mediastinal tumour.
PMCID: PMC3972605  PMID: 24701488
Computed Tomography (CT); Lymphoma; Mediastinal mass; Thymoma
12.  Reversible brain atrophy and cognitive impairment in an adolescent Japanese patient with primary adrenal Cushing’s syndrome 
Endogenous Cushing’s syndrome is an endocrine disease resulting from chronic exposure to excessive glucocorticoids produced in the adrenal cortex. Although the ultimate outcome remains uncertain, functional and morphological brain changes are not uncommon in patients with this syndrome, and generally persist even after resolution of hypercortisolemia. We present an adolescent patient with Cushing’s syndrome who exhibited cognitive impairment with brain atrophy. A 19-year-old Japanese male visited a local hospital following 5 days of behavioral abnormalities, such as money wasting or nighttime wandering. He had hypertension and a 1-year history of a rounded face. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed apparently diffuse brain atrophy. Because of high random plasma cortisol levels (28.7 μg/dL) at 10 AM, he was referred to our hospital in August 2011. Endocrinological testing showed adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent hypercortisolemia, and abdominal computed tomography demonstrated a 2.7 cm tumor in the left adrenal gland. The patient underwent left adrenalectomy in September 2011, and the diagnosis of cortisol-secreting adenoma was confirmed histologically. His hypertension and Cushingoid features regressed. Behavioral abnormalities were no longer observed, and he was classified as cured of his cognitive disturbance caused by Cushing’s syndrome in February 2012. MRI performed 8 months after surgery revealed reversal of brain atrophy, and his subsequent course has been uneventful. In summary, the young age at onset and the short duration of Cushing’s syndrome probably contributed to the rapid recovery of both cognitive dysfunction and brain atrophy in our patient. Cushing’s syndrome should be considered as a possible etiological factor in patients with cognitive impairment and brain atrophy that is atypical for their age.
PMCID: PMC4168879  PMID: 25246796
Cushing’s syndrome; brain atrophy; cognitive impairment; adrenalectomy; adolescent
13.  Serum bone Gla protein and carboxyterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen in patients with Cushing's syndrome. 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1996;72(849):419-422.
Serum bone Gla protein, a marker of bone formation, and carboxyterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen levels, an index of bone resorption, were evaluated in eight patients with active Cushing's syndrome and in four with 'preclinical' Cushing's syndrome, before and after surgery. In basal conditions, serum bone Gla protein levels were significantly lower (p < 0.0001) in patients with active Cushing's syndrome (1.0 +/- 0.35 ng/ml) than in controls (5.4 +/- 0.15 ng/ml); two out of four patients with the 'preclinical' form had reduced bone Gla protein levels, while in the other two cases levels were in the normal range. Serum levels of carboxyterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen (3.0 +/- 0.4 ng/ml), although slightly reduced, were similar to those recorded in controls (4.1 +/- 0.3 ng ml), both in patients with active and with preclinical Cushing's syndrome. After surgery serum levels of both marker proteins significantly increased in seven out of eight patients with active Cushing's syndrome; in one patient, who was not cured after surgery, bone Gla proteins levels remained lower than in normals, while levels of carboxyterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen had a transient increase after six months. In the two patients with a 'preclinical' Cushing's syndrome who underwent surgery, a significant rise of the levels of both marker proteins was observed, similar to that observed in patients with active Cushing's syndrome. It was concluded that serial determinations of these new markers of bone formation and resorption may be usefully employed to follow-up the clinical course of Cushing's syndrome and provide information on the rate of bone turnover in response to medical and/or surgical therapies. Moreover, the evaluation of these markers in preclinical states of Cushing's syndrome might suggest the need for surgery.
PMCID: PMC2398525  PMID: 8935602
14.  Altered amygdala and hippocampus function in adolescents with hypercortisolemia: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study of Cushing syndrome 
Development and psychopathology  2008;20(4):1177-1189.
Chronic elevations of endogenous cortisol levels have been shown to alter medial temporal cortical structures and to be accompanied by declarative memory impairments and depressive symptoms in human adults. These effects of elevated endogenous levels of cortisol have not been directly studied in adolescents. Because adolescents with Cushing syndrome show endogenous elevations in cortisol, they represent a unique natural model to study the effects of prolonged hypercortisolemia on brain function, and memory and affective processes during this developmental stage. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we compared 12 adolescents with Cushing syndrome with 22 healthy control adolescents on amygdala and anterior hippocampus activation during an emotional faces encoding task. None of these adolescents manifested depressive symptoms. Encoding success was assessed using a memory recognition test performed after the scan. The fMRI analyses followed an event-related design and were conducted using the SPM99 platform. Compared to healthy adolescents, patients with Cushing syndrome showed greater left amygdala and right anterior hippocampus activation during successful face encoding. Memory performance for faces recognition did not differ between groups. This first study of cerebral function in adolescents with chronic endogeneous hypercortisolemia due to Cushing syndrome demonstrates the presence of functional alterations in amygdala and hippocampus, which are not associated with affective or memory impairments. Such findings need to be followed by work examining the role of age and related brain maturational stage on these effects, as well as the identification of possible protective factors conferring resilience to affective and cognitive consequences in this disease and/or during this stage of cerebral development.
PMCID: PMC3136758  PMID: 18838037
15.  Mediastinal neoplasms in patients with Graves disease: a possible link between sustained hyperthyroidism and thymic neoplasia? 
Thyroid Research  2012;5:5.
Anterior mediastinal masses are a rare but well documented finding in Graves disease. The vast majority of these lesions represents benign thymic hypertrophy and regress after treatment of the hyperthyroidism. A small percentage of these cases however represent neoplastic/malignant diseases which require further treatment.
12 year old boy with one year history of refractory Graves disease was found to have an anterior mediastinal mass and underwent curative thyroidectomy for sustained hyperthyroidism. Cervical lymphadenopathy was detected during the procedure and biopsy was obtained. A 23 year old woman who presented with a one month history of hyperthyroid symptoms, was diagnosed with Graves disease and also was found to have an anterior mediastinal mass on imaging. Biopsy of the anterior mediastinal mass was obtained and subsequently the patient underwent robotic thymectomy. Histologic examination and immunophenotyping of the cervical lymph node in a 12 year old boy revealed neoplastic proliferation of T lymphoblasts diagnostic of T lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma. Examination of the anterior mediastinal mass biopsy in the 23 year old woman revealed type B1 thymoma which was confirmed after examination of the subsequent robotic thymectomy specimen.
This is the first reported case of T cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and the third reported case of thymoma associated with sustained hyperthyroidism due to Graves disease. These cases indicate that an anterior mediastinal mass in a patient with active Graves disease may be due to a neoplastic cause, which may require definitive treatment. Caution should be exercised when dismissing a mediastinal mass as benign thymic hyperplasia in patients with active Graves disease.
PMCID: PMC3411457  PMID: 22824515
Graves disease; Hyperthyroidism; Thymoma; T Lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma; Thymic hyperplasia
16.  An approach to the management of patients with residual Cushing’s disease 
Journal of Neuro-Oncology  2009;94(3):313-319.
The evaluation and management of patients with residual Cushing’s disease is one of the more complex issues facing neurosurgeons and neuroendocrinologists in clinical practice. There is considerable controversy over several relevant issues such as the timing of the assessment of whether a patient is in remission, what biochemical parameters define remission, the most appropriate course of action to take after residual disease has been defined, etc. As a consequence of the controversies, treating physicians develop notions and fall into certain practice patterns based on evidence of varying levels, their anecdotal experiences, and information gleaned from scientific meetings. This practice pattern, we believe, constitutes the “art of medicine.” We conducted a PubMed literature search to identify manuscripts containing data relevant to Cushing’s disease, outcomes of various therapeutic modalities, and recurrences. Reference lists were used to identify additional relevant manuscripts. We focused our review on manuscripts that included reasonably large series of patients, those reflecting the experience of pituitary centers and physicians recognized as experts in the field, and those papers felt to represent seminal contributions to the literature. Furthermore, trends in the evaluation and management of relevant patients have been incorporated by the senior author who has seen and evaluated over 750 patients with documented Cushing’s syndrome over the past 18 years in clinical practice. An analysis of current evidence indicated that, despite advances in neurosurgical techniques and recent developments in adjuvant therapies, patients with residual Cushing’s disease present significant management challenges to treating physicians. In this era, however, it is indeed possible to gain control of the hypercortisolism in most patients. Despite the wide variability in research methodology designed to collect relevant data, a step-wise approach to the management of these patients can be achieved. A logical step-wise approach to the evaluation of postoperative patients with Cushing’s disease is essential. Patients with residual disease require the development of an individualized plan of management that takes into account numerous factors pertaining to status of disease, the experience of treating physicians, and available therapeutic modalities.
PMCID: PMC2730452  PMID: 19381447
Cushing’s disease; Transsphenoidal; Pituitary; Radiotherapy
17.  Mapping CushingQoL Scores onto SF-6D Utility Values in Patients with Cushing’s Syndrome 
The Patient  2013;6(2):103-111.
To construct a prediction model of preference-adjusted health status (SF-6D) for Cushing’s syndrome using a disease-specific health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measure (CushingQoL).
Data were obtained from the original multicenter, multinational study to validate the CushingQoL questionnaire. HRQOL was measured using the CushingQoL and the SF-36 questionnaires. SF-6D scores were calculated from responses on the SF-36. Sociodemographic and clinical data were also collected. Various predictive models were tested and the final one was selected on the basis of four criteria: explanatory power, consistency of estimated coefficients, normality of prediction errors, and parsimony.
For the mapping analysis, data were available from 116 of the 125 patients included in the original validation study. Mean (SD) age was 45.3 (13.1) years and the sample was predominantly (83 %) female. Patients had a mean (SD) CushingQoL score of 52.9 (21.9), whereas the SF-6D (derived from SF-36) was skewed towards better health with a mean of 0.71 (median 0.74) on a scale of −0.704 to 1. Of the various models tested, a model which included the intercept (0.61), CushingQoL overall score, level one in CushingQoL item 2 (always have pain preventing me from leading a normal life), and level one in CushingQoL item 10 (my illness always affects my everyday activities) best met the four criteria for model selection. The model had an adjusted R2 of 0.60 and a root mean square error of 0.084.
Although the mapping function finally selected appears to be able to accurately map CushingQoL scores onto SF-6D outcomes at the group level, further testing is required to validate the model in independent patient samples.
PMCID: PMC3663200  PMID: 23549927
18.  Endogenous Cushing's Syndrome with Precocious Puberty in an 8-Year-Old Boy due to a Large Unilateral Adrenal Adenoma 
Case Reports in Endocrinology  2013;2013:706989.
Adrenocortical tumors (ACTs) causing Cushing's syndrome are extremely rare in children and adolescents. Bilateral macronodular adrenocortical disease which is a component of the McCune-Albright syndrome is the most common cause of endogenous Cushing's syndrome. We report the case of a boy with Cushing's syndrome who presented with obesity and growth retardation. The child was hypertensive. The biochemical evaluation revealed that his serum cortisol levels were 25.80 μg/dL, with a concomitant plasma ACTH level of 10.0 pg/mL and nonsuppressed serum cortisol on high-dose dexamethasone suppression test (HDDST) to be 20.38 μg/dL. Computed tomography of the abdomen demonstrated a 8 × 6 × 5 cm left adrenal mass with internal calcifications. Following preoperative stabilization, laparotomy was carried out which revealed a lobulated left adrenal mass with intact capsule weighing 120 grams. Histopathological examination revealed a benign cortical neoplastic lesion, suggestive of adrenal adenoma; composed of large polygonal cells with centrally placed nuclei and prominent nucleoli without capsular and vascular invasion. On the seventh postoperative day, cortisol levels were within normal range indicating biochemical remission of Cushing's syndrome. On followup after three months, the patient showed significant clinical improvement and had lost moderate amount of weight and adrenal imaging was found to be normal.
PMCID: PMC3603619  PMID: 23533838
19.  Cushing's syndrome due to ectopic ACTH production by a nasal paraganglioma 
Ectopic secretion of ACTH is an infrequent cause of Cushing's syndrome. We report a case of ectopic ACTH syndrome caused by a nasal paraganglioma, a 68-year-old female with clinical features of Cushing's syndrome, serious hypokalaemia and a right paranasal sinus' lesion. Cranial magnetic resonance image showed a 46-mm mass on the right paranasal sinuses. Endocrinological investigation confirmed the diagnosis of ectopic ACTH production. Resection of the tumour normalised ACTH and cortisol secretion. The tumour was found to be a paraganglioma through microscopic analysis. On follow-up 3 months later, the patient showed nearly complete clinical recovery. Ectopic ACTH syndrome due to nasal paraganglioma is extremely uncommon, as only two other cases have been discussed in the literature.
Learning points
Ectopic Cushing's syndrome accounts for 10% of Cushing's syndrome etiologies.Most paraganglioma of the head and neck are not hormonally active.Nasal paraganglioma, especially ACTH producing, is a very rare tumour.
PMCID: PMC3922001  PMID: 24616770
20.  Carney complex (CNC) 
The Carney complex (CNC) is a dominantly inherited syndrome characterized by spotty skin pigmentation, endocrine overactivity and myxomas. Skin pigmentation anomalies include lentigines and blue naevi. The most common endocrine gland manifestations are acromegaly, thyroid and testicular tumors, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-independent Cushing's syndrome due to primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD). PPNAD, a rare cause of Cushing's syndrome, is due to primary bilateral adrenal defect that can be also observed in some patients without other CNC manifestations or familial history of the disease. Myxomas can be observed in the heart, skin and breast. Cardiac myxomas can develop in any cardiac chamber and may be multiple. One of the putative CNC genes located on 17q22-24, (PRKAR1A), has been identified to encode the regulatory subunit (R1A) of protein kinase A. Heterozygous inactivating mutations of PRKAR1A were reported initially in 45 to 65 % of CNC index cases, and may be present in about 80 % of the CNC families presenting mainly with Cushing's syndrome. PRKAR1A is a key component of the cAMP signaling pathway that has been implicated in endocrine tumorigenesis and could, at least partly, function as a tumor suppressor gene. Genetic analysis should be proposed to all CNC index cases. Patients with CNC or with a genetic predisposition to CNC should have regular screening for manifestations of the disease. Clinical work-up for all the manifestations of CNC should be performed at least once a year in all patients and should start in infancy. Cardiac myxomas require surgical removal. Treatment of the other manifestations of CNC should be discussed and may include follow-up, surgery, or medical treatment depending on the location of the tumor, its size, the existence of clinical signs of tumor mass or hormonal excess, and the suspicion of malignancy. Bilateral adrenalectomy is the most common treatment for Cushing's syndrome due to PPNAD.
PMCID: PMC1513551  PMID: 16756677
21.  Cushing’s Syndrome in Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 
Clinical Endocrinology  2012;76(3):379-386.
In patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), Cushing’s syndrome (CS) from endogenous hypercortisolism can result from pituitary, adrenal, or other endocrine tumors. The purpose of this study was to characterize the range of presentations of CS in a large series of MEN1 patients.
Retrospective review of NIH Clinical Center inpatient records over an approximately 40 year period.
19 patients (8 males, 11 females) with CS and MEN1.
Biochemical, imaging, surgical, and pathological findings.
An etiology was determined for 14 of the 19 patients with CS and MEN1: 11 (79%) had Cushing’s disease (CD) and three (21%) had ACTH-independent CS due to adrenal tumors, frequencies indistinguishable from sporadic CS. Three of 11 MEN1 patients with CD (27%) had additional non-ACTH secreting pituitary microadenomas identified at surgery, an incidence 10-fold higher than in sporadic CD. Ninety-one percent of MEN1 patients with CD were cured after surgery. Two of three MEN1 patients with ACTH-independent CS (67%) had adrenocortical carcinoma. One patient with adrenal cancer and another with adrenal adenoma were cured by unilateral adrenalectomy. No case of ectopic ACTH secretion was identified in our patient cohort. The etiology of CS could not be defined in five patients; in three of these, hypercortisolism appeared to resolve spontaneously.
The tumor multiplicity of MEN1 can be reflected in the anterior pituitary, MEN1-associated ACTH-independent CS may be associated with aggressive adrenocortical disease, and an etiology for CS in MEN1 may be elusive in a substantial minority of patients.
PMCID: PMC3243821  PMID: 21916912
ACTH-Secreting Pituitary Adenoma; Adrenal Gland Neoplasms; Cushing Syndrome; Hypophysectomy; Genes; Tumor Suppressor
22.  A Case of Cushing Syndrome Diagnosed by Recurrent Pathologic Fractures in a Young Woman 
Journal of Bone Metabolism  2012;19(2):153-158.
Cushing's syndrome is characterized by central obesity, fatigability, weakness, amenorrhea, hirsutism, edema, hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance, and osteoporosis due to excessive production of steroids. Cushing's syndrome is an important cause of secondary osteoporosis. Patients with Cushing's syndrome have a high incidence of osteoporotic fractures. At least, 30-50% of patients with Cushing's syndrome experience fractures, particularly in the vertebral body. And it is consistent with the 50% prevalence of osteoporosis in patients with Cushing's syndrome. However, reports of multiple pathological fractures in young patients with Cushing's syndrome are rare. Thus, we describe the case of a 26-year-old woman with Cushing's syndrome accompanied with recurrent multiple osteoporotic fractures and being treated by parathyroid hormone. Careful consideration for the possibility of Cushing's syndrome will be necessary in case of young patients with a spontaneous multiple compression fractures in spine.
PMCID: PMC3780926  PMID: 24524047
Cushing syndrome; Osteoporotic fractures
23.  Reversible alterations in cardiac morphology and functions in a patient with Cushing's syndrome 
A 45-year-old female was referred for endocrine evaluation of an incidental mass (31×24 mm in diameter) on the right adrenal gland. The patient was normotensive and nondiabetic, and had no history of generalised obesity (body weight, 46 kg at 20 years of age and 51.2 kg on admission); however, her waist-to-hip ratio was 0.97. Elevated urinary free cortisol levels (112–118 μg/day) and other findings indicated adrenocorticotrophic hormone-independent Cushing's syndrome due to right adrenocortical adenoma. Echocardiography before adrenalectomy revealed concentric left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy with a particular increase in interventricular septum thickness leading to impaired systolic and diastolic functions. Upon surgical remission of hypercortisolism, the asymmetric hypertrophy disappeared and the cardiac dysfunctions were considerably ameliorated. Although the mechanism(s) by which excessive cortisol contributes to LV wall thickness remain(s) unclear, serial echocardiography and cardiac multidetector-row computed tomography may support the notion that abnormal fat deposition in the myocardium owing to hypercortisolism appears to be an important factor for the reversible change in the cardiac morphology.
Learning points
Patients with Cushing's syndrome occasionally exhibit severe LV hypertrophy related to systolic and diastolic dysfunctions although they have neither hypertension nor diabetes mellitus.Biological remission of hypercortisolism can normalise structural and functional cardiac parameters and help in differentiating the cardiac alterations induced by excessive cortisol from those induced by other diseases.Excessive lipid accumulation within the heart before myocardial fibrosis may be implicated in reversible alterations in the cardiac morphology by Cushing's syndrome.Early diagnosis and treatment of Cushing's syndrome appear to be pivotal in preventing irreversible cardiac dysfunctions subsequent to cardiovascular events and heart failure.
PMCID: PMC4075027  PMID: 25031836
24.  Severe hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis and hypertension in a 54 year old male with ectopic ACTH syndrome: a case report 
Cases Journal  2009;2:6174.
Ectopic ACTH syndrome is a rare cause of Cushing’s syndrome accounting for about 15% of all cases. Small cell lung cancer and bronchial carcinoids account for about half of the cases. Malignant neoplasm has rapid and more aggressive metabolic effects. We report a 54-year-old male patient with phenotypic features of Cushing’s syndrome with severe hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis, hypertension and altered mental status as manifestations of an ACTH-secreting small cell carcinoma from the lung. Ectopic ACTH syndrome should be highly considered in patients with hypertension and severe hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis, especially when a lung mass is discovered.
PMCID: PMC2740289  PMID: 19829770
25.  Coexistence of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and surgically identified pituitary apoplexy: a case report and review of the literature 
A ruptured aneurysm associated with a pituitary apoplexy is rare. We present the first case report of the coexistence of a ruptured posterior communicating aneurysm with a surgically discovered pituitary apoplexy where the pituitary apoplexy had not been diagnosed by a pre-operative computerized tomography scan.
Case presentation
A 31-year-old right-handed Chinese woman began to experience severe headache, vomiting and blurred vision which continued for two days. On admission to the hospital, a brain computerized tomography scan demonstrated a small amount of increased signal in the basal cisterns; no evidence of intrasellar and suprasellar lesions was seen. The appearance of her brain suggested aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. She had nuchal rigidity and reduced vision. There was no extra-ocular palsy and no other neurological deficit. Our patient had no stigmata of Cushing’s syndrome or acromegaly. During an interview for further history, she reported normal menses and denied reduced vision.
Cerebral digital subtraction angiography was subsequently performed, which revealed a 6mm left posterior communicating aneurysm. Urgent left pterional craniotomy was performed. The left ruptured posterior communicating artery aneurysm was completely dissected prior to clipping. At surgery, a suprasellar mass was discovered, the tumor bulging the diaphragma sella and projecting anteriorly under the chiasm raising suspicion of a pituitary tumor. The anterior part of the tumor capsule was opened and a necrotic tumor mixed with dark old blood was removed. The appearance suggested pituitary apoplexy.
Histopathology revealed pituitary adenoma with evidence of hemorrhagic necrosis. Our patient made a good recovery.
Our case report proves that pituitary apoplexy can be coexistent with the rupture of a posterior communicating aneurysm. This association should be considered when evaluating any case of aneurysm. A normal computerized tomography scan does not exclude pituitary apoplexy. Pre-operative magnetic resonance imaging interpretation is required if a pituitary apoplexy is suspected. Craniotomy allows a coexisting aneurysm and pituitary apoplexy to be simultaneously treated.
PMCID: PMC4155771  PMID: 24885333
Aneurysm; Pituitary apoplexy; Pituitary adenoma; Subarachnoid hemorrhage

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