Adrenal myelolipoma(s) as presenting manifestation of subclinical Cushing’s disease (eutopic ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome)

  1. Partha Pratim Chakraborty1,
  2. Shinjan Patra1,
  3. Sugata Narayan Biswas1,
  4. Rana Bhattacharjee2

+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Department of MedicineMidnapore Medical College and HospitalMidnaporeWest Bengal, India

  2. 2Department of Endocrinology and MetabolismIPGME&R/SSKM HospitalKolkataWest Bengal, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Partha Pratim Chakraborty,
  • Accepted 5 August 2017
  • Published 16 August 2017


Primary adrenal myelolipomas, relatively rare benign tumours of the adrenal cortex are typically unilateral, hormonally inactive and asymptomatic, hence often diagnosed as ‘adrenal incidentaloma’. Bilateral adrenal myelolipomas, in particular, may be associated with underlying endocrinopathies associated with elevated circulating adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentration.

Subclinical cortisol hypersecretion, irrespective of its ACTH dependency, does not manifest typical clinical phenotype of hypercortisolemia, and thus termed subclinical Cushing’s syndrome.

In this article, hormonal evaluation in a middle-aged woman with diabetes, hypertension and incidentally discovered unilateral adrenal myelolipoma revealed underlying subclinical Cushing’s disease. Abdominal CT revealed another tiny focus in the contralateral adrenal gland, probably representing incipient myelolipoma.

From (you may buy the whole article at this link)

Bilateral adrenal myelolipoma in Cushing’s disease: a relook into the role of corticotropin in adrenal tumourigenesis

BMJ Case Reports 2016; doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-214965

Partha Pratim Chakraborty, Rana Bhattacharjee, Pradip Mukhopadhyay, Subhankar Chowdhury

  1. Correspondence to Dr Partha Pratim Chakraborty,
  • Accepted 2 June 2016
  • Published 15 June 2016


Adrenal myelolipomas are infrequently encountered benign tumours of unknown aetiology.

In the majority of cases they are unilateral, and clinically and hormonally silent, only requiring periodic follow-up. However, bilateral adrenal myelolipomas are sometimes associated with endocrine disorders and warrant appropriate evaluation.

Though the understanding of the pathophysiology of adrenal myelolipomas has long been elusive, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) has been proposed as the main tropic factor in a number of studies. Cushing’s disease is rarely associated with bilateral and sometimes giant myelolipomas.

In this article, the association of bilateral adrenal myelolipomas with Cushing’s disease has been discussed and the role of ACTH in the tumourigenesis has been reviewed.


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