What is the Best Approach to Suspected Cyclical Cushing Syndrome?

Strategies for Managing Cushing’s Syndrome With Variable Laboratory Data

Brew Atkinson, Karen R. Mullan

Disclosures

Clin Endocrinol. 2011;75(1):27-30.

 

Abstract

Cyclical Cushing’s syndrome is a pattern of hypercortisolism in which the biochemistry of cortisol production fluctuates rhythmically. This syndrome is often associated with fluctuating symptoms and signs. It is now being increasingly recognized. The phenomenon is important because it can, if not recognized, lead to errors in diagnosis and differential diagnosis of the syndrome and in assessment of therapeutic outcomes. The techniques and criteria, protocols and dynamic biochemical tools to detect cycling in patients with hypercortisolism are discussed as are the strategies for diagnosing and managing this important subgroup of patients with hypercortisolism.

Introduction

Cyclical Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is a pattern in hypercortisolism in which the biochemistry of cortisol production fluctuates rhythmically. This can also be associated with fluctuating symptoms and signs. This type of case was initially thought to be rare. However, it has recently been recognized as occurring much more frequently. The phenomenon is important because, if not recognized, it can lead to errors in diagnosis and differential diagnosis of the syndrome and in assessment of therapeutic outcomes. All of these can have very serious clinical consequences.

As a result of reading this article, it is hoped that readers will be better able to consider more carefully the risks associated with too wide a diagnostic trawl for the diagnosis of CS and the associated chances of finding some abnormality of steroid biochemistry.

In cases where the diagnosis is being strongly considered, the risks of not considering episodic secretion when laboratory results are discordant are discussed. Readers should be able to plan strategies to assess for variable and cyclical secretion and to use these in diagnosis, differential diagnosis and treatment assessments.

Read more here: What is the best approach to suspected cyclical Cushing syndrome?

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