Endocrine Society Releases Guidelines on Treatment of Cushing’s Syndrome

To lessen the risk for comorbidity and death, the Endocrine Society’s newly published guidelines on the treatment of Cushing’s syndrome focus on surgical resection of the causal tumor with the goal of normalizing cortisol levels. Furthermore, there is increased emphasis on individualizing treatment options when choosing a second-line treatment.

In July 2015, the Endocrine Society published treatment guidelines to assist endocrinologists in appropriately initiating treatment or referring patients with Cushing’s syndrome to treatment. A task force of experts compiled evidence from systematic reviews and graded the strength of the recommendations.

“We hope that it will lead to improved treatment of comorbidities both before and after definitive treatment of the syndrome, and to increased individualization of patient treatment,” said chair of the task force Lynnette Nieman, MD, who is chief of the Endocrinology Consultation Service at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

“There are two new drugs that were approved in 2012, and so I think that is what prompted the review. Still, medications are not the first line of treatment, but we have some new therapeutic options, and I think the idea was to help people understand where to use them,” Julie Sharpless, MD, assistant professor and director of the UNC Multidisciplinary Pituitary Adenoma Program, told Endocrinology Advisor.

“The primary treatment is surgical resection of the causal tumor(s). If that cannot be done (because the tumor is occult or metastatic) or is not successful, then the choice of secondary treatment should be individualized to the patient. The comorbidities of Cushing’s syndrome, for example hypertension and diabetes, should be treated separately as well,” Nieman said.

For example, the guidelines recommend surgical removal of the causative lesion, with the exception of cases which are unlikely to cause a drop in glucocorticoids or in patients who are not surgical candidates.

Likewise, in patients with benign unilateral adrenal adenoma, adrenalectomy by an experienced surgeon has a high rate of cure in children and adults. Because of the poor prognosis associated with adrenal carcinoma, the guidelines highlight the need for complete resection and possibly medical treatment to stabilize cortisol levels.

Other first-line treatment options include recommending surgical resection of ectopic ACTH-secreting tumors; referring to an experienced pituitary surgeon for transsphenoidal selective adenomectomy; treatments to block hormone receptors in bilateral micronodular adrenal hyperplasia; and surgical removal in bilateral adrenal disorders.

The elevated mortality rate seen in patients with Cushing’s syndrome is due to infection, venous thrombosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Appropriately lowering cortisol levels improves hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and obesity in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. Therefore, the guidelines highlight the need for restoring cortisol levels and treating the associated comorbidities.

Nevertheless, the task force specifically recommends against treatment without an established diagnosis or when there are no signs of Cushing’s syndrome and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal laboratory studies are borderline.

In patients who are not surgical candidates or in cases of noncurative resection, the decision on whether to consider second-line treatment options such as medical therapy, radiation, bilateral adrenalectomy or repeat transsphenoidal surgery should be based on several factors. For instance, the guidelines recommend taking into consideration location and size of the tumor, patient desires, goals of treatment and level of biochemical control.

The guidelines note medical therapy should be based on cost, efficacy and individualization of treatment. Endocrinologists can approach medical therapy with a goal of establishing normal cortisol levels or reducing cortisol levels to very low levels and replacing to achieve desired levels.

Remission in Cushing’s syndrome is associated with notable improvement; however, long-term follow-up is recommended for osteoporosis, CVD and psychiatric conditions.

After treatment, patients may experience reductions in weight, blood pressure, lipids and glucose levels that may allow reduction or discontinuation of medications. Even so, patients with a history of Cushing’s syndrome tend to have higher rates of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes. Likewise, rates of myocardial infarction are higher in this population, further emphasizing the need for treatment and management of diabetes and hypertension.

Sharpless highlighted that Cushing’s syndrome is rare.

“There are multiple studies that have shown that patients do better when they are treated in a specialty center where people see a lot of cases of this. So in that sense, treatment is not usually going to fall to the general practitioner,” she said.

She continued that the guidelines are helpful and provide guidance to endocrinologist who “can’t readily refer their patient to a pituitary center.”

Sharpless went on to describe the multidisciplinary care involved in Cushing’s syndrome including endocrinologists, neurosurgeons, radiologists, counselors and radiation oncologist.

“When the care is complicated, you want to ensure all of your providers have reviewed your case together and figured out the best plan.”

The guidelines were co-sponsored by the European Society of Endocrinology. Nieman received salary support for her work on the manuscript from the Intramural Research Program of the Eunice Kennedy Shiver Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Members of the task force reported multiple disclosures.

Reference

  1. Nieman LK et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015;100(8):2807-2831.

From http://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/adrenal/cushings-syndrome-endocrine-society-guidelines/article/434307/

Apathy and Pituitary Disease: It Has Nothing to Do With Depression

From http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/jnp.17.2.159

Pituitary Incidentaloma Treatment Guideline

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It is unclear how many people have pituitary incidentaloma, but imaging and autopsy studies indicate they are quite common and occur in up to one-third of patients. Fortunately, the vast majority of these serendipitously discovered tumors are clinically insignificant.

A management guideline in the Annals of Endocrinology brings endocrinologists up to date on current thinking about pituitary incidentaloma management.   Endocrinologists classify these tumors as micro- or macro-. Microincidentalomas are discovered in around 10% of patients, often upon CT after a fall, and are less than 1 cm in diameter. They may grow, but only 5% proceed to macroincidentaloma.

Currently, experts recommend assessing nonfunctioning (NF) microincidentaloma clinically for signs of hypersecretion (hyperprolactinemia, acromegaly or Cushing’s syndrome), with subsequent systematic prolactin and IGF-1 assay.   Pituitary incidentalomas that are larger than 1 cm at discovery—macroincidentalomas—are more likely to grow, with 25% and 24%-40% of patients having larger tumors at 4 and 8 years after diagnosis respectively.

Concerns escalate and closer surveillance is needed if a macroadenoma is in contact with the optic chiasm. With any NF macroincidentaloma, experts recommend assessing patients for signs of hormonal hypersecretion or hypopituitarism. Then, laboratory screening for hypersecretion or hormonal deficiency is needed, as is ophthalmologic assessment (visual acuity and visual field) if the lesion is near the optic chiasm (OC).   Surveillance differs by tumor size, with 5 mm the cutoff for NF microincidentaloma.

Tumors smaller than that require no surveillance, and those larger need to be monitored with MRI at 6 months and then 2 years. Endocrinologists should revisit macroincidentaloma distant from the optic chiasm with MRI at 1 year and conduct hormonal exploration (for anterior pituitary deficiency), then monitor every 2 years.   Proximity to the optic chiasm often creates a need for surgery or increased vigilance. MRI is recommended at 6 months, with hormonal and visual assessment, then annual MRI and hormonal and visual assessment every 6 months.

Specific types of pituitary incidentaloma call for surgery: evolutive NF microincidentaloma, NF macroincidentaloma associated with hypopituitarism or showing progression, incidentaloma compressing the optic chiasm, possible malignancy, non-compliant patient, pregnancy desired in the short-term, or context at risk of apoplexy.

Few guidelines are published for pituitary incidentaloma, and this one is enhanced with a decision tree that walks endocrinologist through the recommendations. –

See more at: http://www.hcplive.com/medical-news/pituitary-incidentaloma-treatment-guideline#sthash.0DqxeTru.dpuf

Roundup may cause potentially fatal ‘adrenal insufficiency’

IMPORTANT!  A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it’s meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of ‘adrenal insufficiency’ in humans.

Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup is an endocrine (hormone) disruptor in adult male rats, a new study shows.

The lowest dose tested of 10 mg/kg bw/d (bodyweight per day) was found to reduce levels of corticosterone, a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands. This was only one manifestation of a widespread disruption of adrenal function.

No other toxic effects were seen at that dose, so if endocrine disruption were not being specifically looked for, there would be no other signs that the dose was toxic. However a 2012 study detected a 35% testosterone down-regulation in rats at a concentration of 1 part per million.

In both studies endocrine disruption was detected at the lowest level tested for, so we don’t know if, when it comes to endocrine disruption, there are ‘safe’ lower doses of Roundup. In technical parlance, this means that no NOAEL (no observed adverse effect level), was found.

Significantly, the authors believe that the hormonal disruption could lead to the potentially fatal condition know as ‘adrenal insufficiency’ in humans, which causes fatigue, anorexia, sweating, anxiety, shaking, nausea, heart palpitations and weight loss.

“A progressive increase in its prevalence has been observed in humans, while a very few studies relating to xenobiotic exposure and adrenal insufficiency development have been reported”, they write. The increasing levels of Roundup in the environment and food could be “one of the possible mechanisms of adrenal insufficiency.”

How does this level relate to safety limits set by regulators?

One problem with trying to work out how the endocrine disruptive level of 10 mg/kg bw/d relates to how ‘safe’ levels are set by regulators.

The experiment looked at Roundup, the complete herbicide formulation as sold and used, but regulators only look at the long-term safety of glyphosate alone, the supposed active ingredient of Roundup.

Safe levels for chronic exposure to the Roundup herbicide product have never been tested or assessed for regulatory processes. This is a serious omission because Roundup has been shown in many tests to be more disruptive to hormones than glyphosate alone, thanks to the numerous other ingredients it contains to enhance its weed-killing properties.

Given this yawning data gap, let’s for a moment assume that the regulatory limits set for glyphosate alone can be used as a guide for the safe level of Roundup.

The endocrine disruptive level of Roundup found in the experiment, of 10 mg/kg bw/d, is is well above the acceptable daily intake (ADI) set for glyphosate in Europe (0.3 mg/kg bw/d) and the US (1.75 mg/kg bw/d). But this isn’t a reason to feel reassured, since with endocrine effects, low doses can be more disruptive than higher doses.

Another worrying factor is that 10 mg/kg bw/d is well below the NOAEL (no observed adverse effect level) for chronic toxicity of glyphosate: 500 mg/kg bw/d for chronic toxicity, according to the US EPA.

In other words, the level of 500 mg/kg bw/d – a massive 50 times higher than the level of Roundup found to be endocrine disruptive in the experiment – is deemed by US regulators not to cause chronic toxicity.

This experiment shows they are wrong by a long shot. They failed to see toxicity below that level because they failed to take endocrine disruptive effects from low doses into account and industry does not test for them.

Hormone disruption take place at or below ‘no adverse effects’ levels

Interestingly, the NOAEL for glyphosate in industry’s three-generation reproductive studies in rats was much lower than that for chronic toxicity – 30 mg/kg bw/day for adults and 10 mg/kg bw/day for offspring.

However the latter figures – at which no adverse effects should be apparent from glyphosate – are at the same as or higher level than the level of Roundup found to be endocrine disruptive in the new study.

These results therefore show that the reproductive processes of the rats are sensitive to low doses that are apparently not overtly toxic. This in turn suggests that the reproductive toxicity findings are due to endocrine disruptive effects.

Regulatory tests still do not include tests for endocrine disruption from low doses, in spite of the fact that scientists have known about the syndrome since the 1990s.

In the final section of the new study, the researchers discuss its implications. They note that the effects seen in the Roundup-treated rats to the Adrenocorticotropic hormone receptor (ACTH) were similar to adrenal insufficiency in humans:

“The findings that Roundup treatment down regulates endogenous ACTH, is similar to the condition known as adrenal insufficiency in humans. This condition manifests as fatigue, anorexia, sweating, anxiety, shaking, nausea, heart palpitations and weight loss. Chronic adrenal insufficiency could be fatal, if untreated.

“A progressive increase in its prevalence has been observed in humans, while a very few studies relating to xenobiotic exposure and adrenal insufficiency development have been reported. The present study describes one of the possible mechanisms of adrenal insufficiency due to Roundup and suggests more systematic studies, to investigate the area further. “

Claire Robinson of GMWatch commented: “Since no safe dose has been established for Roundup with regard to endocrine disrupting effects, it should be banned.”

 


 

The study:Analysis of endocrine disruption effect of Roundup in adrenal gland of male rats‘ is by Aparamita Pandey and Medhamurthy Rudraiah, and published in Toxicology Reports 2 (2015) pp.1075-1085 on open access.

This article was originally published by GMWatch. This version has been subject to some edits and additions by The Ecologist.

From http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2985058/roundup_may_cause_potentially_fatal_adrenal_insufficiency.html

Urinary free cortisol measurement most accurate first-line test for Cushing’s syndrome diagnosis

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Ceccato F, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015;doi:10.1210/jc.2015-2507.

Measuring 24-hour urinary free cortisol with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry is the most accurate first-line diagnostic tool for diagnosing Cushing’s syndrome in adults, according to research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Filippo Ceccato, MD, of the University Hospital of Padova, Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from 137 adults from 2012 to 2014 (108 women; mean age, 41 years) with clinical conditions suggestive of hypercortisolism. Within the cohort, 38 had a confirmed diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome (27 women); 99 did not have the diagnosis. In all patients, researchers measured 24-hour urinary free cortisol with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), late-night salivary cortisol with a radio-immunometric method and serum cortisol with a 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test. Researchers performed all three tests on patients within 2 weeks to avoid fluctuations in cortisol production.

Researchers found that using LC-MS/MS to measure urinary free cortisol revealed both a combined higher positive ratio (10.7) and a lower negative likelihood ratio (0.03) among the three first-line tests.

For the 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test, researchers found a cutoff of 138 nmol/L revealed the best specificity (97%), whereas the 50 nmol/L cutoff confirmed the best sensitivity (100%). For the late-night salivary cortisol test, researchers found a cutoff of 14.46 provided a sensitivity of 84% and specificity of 89%. For urinary free cortisol, a cutoff of 170 nmol during 24 hours provided a sensitivity of 97% and specificity of 91%.

After using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC)-contrast analysis to compare the power of each test alone and combined with one another, the urinary free cortisol assay was at least as good as all the other possible combinations, according to researchers.

“This result is rather surprising because some authors have recently advocated replacing [the urinary free cortisol] assay with other tests,” the researchers wrote. “Our findings go against such a hypothesis, probably because we used LC-MS/MS in our routine clinical practice for all patients, meaning that high [urinary free cortisol] concentrations pointed to a high likelihood of [Cushing’s syndrome].”

Researchers also observed higher urinary free cortisol levels in men with Cushing’s syndrome, as well as greater cortisol suppression in the 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test in women, but noted that sex did not affect the diagnostic accuracy of tests.

“Choosing between valid tests for ruling out [Cushing’s syndrome] in high-risk populations requires an understanding of their diagnostic performance in different clinical settings,” the researchers wrote. “We recommend measuring [urinary free cortisol] with LC-MS/MS as the first-line screening test for the diagnosis of [Cushing’s syndrome], and then confirming hypercortisolism with the 1-mg [dexamethasone suppression test] or late-night salivary cortisol assay.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/online/%7B1851a57b-4e76-4c5d-ad7e-ef217c2a2336%7D/urinary-free-cortisol-measurement-most-accurate-first-line-test-for-cushings-syndrome-diagnosis

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