Young people with Cushing syndrome may be at higher risk for suicide, depression

Children with Cushing syndrome may be at higher risk for suicide as well as for depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions long after their disease has been successfully treated, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Cushing syndrome results from high levels of the hormone cortisol. Long-term complications of the syndrome include obesity, diabetes, bone fractures, high blood pressure, kidney stones and serious infections. Cushing’s syndrome may be caused by tumors of the adrenal glands or other parts of the body that produce excess cortisol. It also may be caused by a pituitary tumor that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce high cortisol levels. Treatment usually involves stopping excess cortisol production by removing the tumor.

“Our results indicate that physicians who care for young people with Cushing syndrome should screen their patients for depression-related mental illness after the underlying disease has been successfully treated,” said the study’s senior author, Constantine Stratakis, D(med)Sci, director of the Division of Intramural Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Patients may not tell their doctors that they’re feeling depressed, so it’s a good idea for physicians to screen their patients proactively for depression and related conditions.”

Cushing syndrome may affect both adults and children. A recent study estimated that in the United States, there are 8 cases of Cushing syndrome per 1 million people per year.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Pediatrics. They reviewed the case histories of all children and youth treated for Cushing syndrome at NIH from 2003 to 2014, a total of 149 patients. The researchers found that, months after treatment, 9 children (roughly 6 percent) had thoughts of suicide and experienced outbursts of anger and rage, depression, irritability and anxiety. Of these, 7 experienced symptoms within 7 months of their treatment.

Two others began experiencing symptoms at least 48 months after treatment.

The authors noted that children with Cushing syndrome often develop compulsive behaviors and tend to become over-achievers in school. After treatment, however, they then become depressed and anxious. This is in direct contrast to adults with Cushing syndrome, who tend to become depressed and anxious before treatment and gradually overcome these symptoms after treatment.

The authors stated that health care providers might try to prepare children with Cushing syndrome before they undergo treatment, letting them know that their mood may change after surgery and may not improve for months or years. Similarly, providers should consider screening their patients periodically for suicide risk in the years following their treatment.

Source: NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Interview with Fabiana October 21

Fabiana had transsphenoidal surgery (pituitary) July 30th 2004.  She had a recurrence after seven years of being Cushing’s free.  A second pituitary surgery on 10/26/2011 was unsuccessful.

Another Golden Oldie, this bio was last updated 9/12/2015

interview

Fabiana will be our guest in an interview on BlogTalk Radio  Wednesday, October 21 at 6:00 PM eastern.  The Call-In number for questions or comments is (657) 383-0416.

The archived interview will be available after 7:00 PM Eastern through iTunes Podcasts (Cushie Chats) or BlogTalkRadio.  While you’re waiting, there are currently 88 other past interviews to listen to!

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Well it has taken me a year to write this bio…and just to give some hope to those of you just going thru this process…I have to say that after surgery I have not felt better! I am back to who i always knew I was….the depression and anxiety is gone and I am living life like a 24 year old should!

I guess it all started when i was sixteen (hindsight is 20-20 i guess). My periods stopped i was tired all the time and the depression started. We all kind of just chalked it up to being sixteen. But my mom insisted something was not right. we talked with my gyno…who said nothing was wrong, I had a fungus on my head (my hair was getting really thin) and sometimes girls who had normal periods (in my case three years of normal periods) just go awry.

My mom wasnt hearing that and demanded a script for an endo. I went….he did blood work…and metioned cushings. But nothing came back definitive…so they put me on birthcontol and gave me some hormones and the chushings was never mentioned again because that all seemed to work.

As time went on my depression got worse, the shape of my body started to change-my face and stomach was the most noticeable- and my energy level kept going down. I kept going back to the doctors asking to be tested for mono..or something. I went to a psycologist….but i knew there was no reason for my depression. Two of them told me “i had very good insight” and that I didnt need them. I started getting more anxiety..especially about going out socially.

High school ended and my typical optimistic personality started to decline. I put on a good act to my friends but my family was seeing me break down all the time. I went away for college (all the while gaining weight). My sophmore year I had a break down..I called my family crying that i needed help. I couldnt beat my depression. I didnt drink in college because i knew that would mean instant weight gain, i barely went out…i exercised everyday..hard….i joined weight watchers…i stuck with it. I was at 103 lbs….that crept up to 110…that crept up to 117…each time my weight goal would be “ohh if i could just get back to 108..112…115” with each weight gain my original weight goal would get higher and higher.

Internally i felt like I was constantly under a black cloud..i knew there was no reason why i shoudl feel this way..i was doing great in school, i had a supportive family, an amazing boyfriend and great friends…why was i depressed? I was becoming emotionally draining to the people closest to me…I would go home a lot on the weekends…i was diagnosed with PMDS….like severe PMS..and was given an antidepresant…i hated it it made me feel like a zombie…i stopped taking it and just made it apoint to work on fighting the depression….and the weight gain.

When i was done college i was about 120 lbs. My face was getting rounder and rounder..i was noticing more hair on my face and arms…and a hump between my shoulder blades and the bottom of my neck. My mom saw a tv show about Polycystic ovarian syndrome and felt that maybe that was what was going on with me…i went to my PCP with this and she said it was possible and that i should to talk to my gyno….I am 4’8 and at the time weighing close to 125..i talked to my gyno and she said I was not heavy..that i was just “itailan” ..i told her my periods were getting abnormal again even w/the birthcontrol and that i was so tired all the time and my arms and legs ached. I also told her that i was bruising very easily…and that the weight gain would not stop despite my exercising and following the atikins diet very strickly for over 6 weeks. My boyfriend and I decided to try the diet together..he lost 35 llbs in 6 weeks..i lost NOTHING! I went back to my PCP who ordered an ultra sound of my ovaries…..NOTHING.(i kept thinking i was going crazy and that it was all in my head)….she also decided to do some blood work…and as i was walking out the door she said..”you know what..i am going to give you this 24hr urine test too. Just so that we cover everything”. I just kept thinking please let something come back ….please dont let this be all my fault…please dont let this be all in my head…..please dont let me be crazy. When i got the test results back it turned out that the 24hr urine test was the one test i needed to get on the right track to finding what was wrong. My cortisol level was 3x’s the normal.

I went to an endo…by the time i got to the endocronoligist i was up to 130…i could not work a full day without needing a full day of sleep and my body was aching beyond description. I was crying all the time…in my room…and was becoming more and more of a recluse…i would only hang out with my boyfriend in our houses. I looked my symptoms up on the internet and saw cushings…that was it! I went to the endo and told him..i think it is cushings….he said he had only saw it one other time and that he wanted to do more tests. I got CAT scans, x-rays, MRI’s….my adrenals my pituitary my lungs….he did a CRH stimulation test which was getting blood work done every fifteen minutes for 90minutes….it took weeks to get that test scheduled..no one had ever heard of it and therefore did not know how to do it…..finally after 3 months of tests my dr. felt he had enough evidence to diagnos me with cushings disease (tumor on my pituitary) I was diagnosed in March of 2004. By this time i was about 137 lbs i had to work part time (i am an occupational therapist for children..i do home visits….i could not make it thru a whole day)

In April i had to change to office work…i could not lift the children and i could barely get up off the floor. I have to say i was one of the lucky people who worked for people who were very supportive and accomidating…my boss was very willing to work with me and willing to hold my job for me.

July 30th 2004 i finally had transphenodial surgery to remove my tumor (they went thru my lip and nose because they felt my nose was too small). It is now over 1 year later….i am down to 108 lbs, i have so much energy…no depression….and i dont mind looking at myself in the mirror…i am enjoying my friends and my boyfriend…(who stayed with me thru it all) And my family. I feel healthy mentally, emptionally, and physically. And i just got back into my size 2 jeans!!!

It was a crappy time…(as i am sure you all can atest to) but i learned a lot…..most importantly i was bombarded by good wishes and prayers….friends requested masses for me…a nun in brazil prayed for me…people who i never thought i touched their lives…took the time to wish me well…send an email..or call….I got to experience the wonderful loving nature of human beings and i was lucky to be supported by my family (my mom, dad, and two younger brothers) and my boyfriend throughout this entire tough journey.

This experience taught me to realize the strength i have as well as to appreciate the good and the bad in life. I was on hydrocortizone for about 8 months…i was lucky that my tumor was in its own little sack so my pituitary gland was not touched. In the end in took about 7 years to diagnose me..i think that if the dr. at 16 would have pursued the cushings idea nothing would have been found because it took so long for my symptoms to really peak…needless to say i love my PCP and my endo ..and that i changed gyno’s…

I just want to let anyone out there going thru this disease to know..you are not alone….and to take each day is stride…when you need help ask for it….and that this road can lead to a happy ending. God Bless!

ps- it is ok to feel bad about what you are going thru…it is a tough thing to endure…and when the docotors tell you there is noting wrong…..follow your gut…and you keep searching for the doctor that will listen… If there is anyone in the philadelphis of south jersey area who needs someone to talk to please feel free to email me…fapadula@hotmail.com…i will help you out the best i can!

Update November 6, 2011

Well- here is an update, after seven years of being Cushings free it has returned.

With in those seven years I married my college boyfriend and we now have a son- Nicholas who will be 2 in Decemeber. It has been a blessed and wonderful seven years. However right around when my son was turning 1 I started to notice symptoms again. Increase facial hair, the whole “roundness” of my body, buffalo hump. I decided I was going to work out hard, eat right, and see – I didnt just want to jump to any conclusions. I stuck to it- and nothing…..my hair started thinning again and the acne was coming back and then the missed periods…..so I went to my PCP- told them i needed the 24hr urine and wouldnt you know…..427 cortisol level (on that 0-50 scale)……here we go again.

So back to endo- now at Penn Pituitary Center…..it was another journey b/c the tumor wasnt definative on MRI, and it seems to be cycling…..but I was diagnosed with Cushings again- with the option of 2nd pit surgery or BLA…….after some months of trying to make a decision I went with the 50/50 chance of the second pituitary surgery on 10/26/2011.

It didnt work- my levels never came down in the hospital and I went home w/ out of range cortisol levels and no need for medication……BLURG……Sooooo on to the next step…..after I recover from this surgery I will most likely have the BLA- with the hopes of not having to deal with Cushings ever again. This time around has been a little more difficult just with being a mom and feeling sick- but I still continue to be amazingly blessed with a supportive family and husband and we are surrounded by love and support and for that I am beyond greatful.

I keep all of you in my prayers for relief and health- as I ( we all) know this no easy journey.

Many Blessings!

Fabiana

Update September 12, 2015

So to bring this up to date. My second pituitary surgery in 2011 was unsuccessful. January of 2012 I had both of my adrenal glands removed. Going to adrenal insufficiency was a very difficult transition for me. It took me nearly 2 years before I felt functional. As time went on I felt more human, but I haven’t felt healthy since that day. I can and do function, but at a lower expectation of what I used to be capable of….my “new normal”.

My husband and I decided to try for a second child…my pituitary was damaged from the second surgery and we needed fertility…after 8 months of fertility I got pregnant and we had our second son January of 2015.

In April of 2015 we discovered that my ACTH was increasing exponentially. MRI revealed a macroadenoma invading my cavernous sinus. The tumor is sitting on my carotid artery and milimeterrs away from my optic chasim. I was not a candidate for another surgery due to the tumors proximity to.both of those vital structures.

So September 1st of this year I started daily radiation treatments. I spent my 34th birthday getting my brain zapped. I am receiving proton beam therapy at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. I am so lucky to live so close to an institute that has some of the rarest treatment options.

Again Cushing’s is disrupting our life, my husband goes with me every night to radiation while family takes turns watching the kids….I am now on my 18th year of fighting this disease. I never imagined it would get to this point.

But here we all are making the best of each day, fighting each day and trying to keep things as “normal” as possible. Blessings to all of you fighting this disease…my new go to saying is” ‘effing Cushing’s”! For you newbies…Fight, Advocate for yourselves, and find a doc who doesn’t dismiss you and hang on to them for dear life.

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PRKACA mutations in cortisol-producing adenomas and adrenal hyperplasia

Eur J Endocrinol. 2015 Mar 6. pii: EJE-14-1113. [Epub ahead of print]

PRKACA mutations in cortisol-producing adenomas and adrenal hyperplasia – a single-center study of 60 cases.

Abstract

Objective: Cortisol excess due to adrenal adenomas or hyperplasia causes Cushing’s syndrome. Recent genetic studies have identified a somatic PRKACAL206R mutation as a cause of cortisol-producing adenomas.

We aimed to compare the clinical features of lesions with PRKACA mutations to those with CTNNB1 mutations and to search for similar mutations in unilateral hyperplasia or tumors co-secreting aldosterone.

Design, patients and methods: 60 patients with cortisol excess who had adrenalectomies at our institution between 1992 and 2013 were assessed, and somatic mutations were determined by Sanger sequencing. 36 patients had overt Cushing’s syndrome, the remainder were subclinical. 59 cases were adenomas (three bilateral), one was classified as hyperplasia. Four tumors had proven co-secretion of aldosterone.

Results: Among cortisol-secreting unilateral lesions without evidence of co-secretion (n=52), we identified somatic mutations in PRKACA (L206R) in 23.1%, CTNNB1 (S45P, S45F) in 23.1%, GNAS (R201C) in 5.8% and CTNNB1 plus GNAS (S45P, R201H) in 1.9%. PRKACA and GNAS mutations were mutually exclusive. Of the co-secreting tumors, two (50%) had mutations in KCNJ5 (G151R and L168R). The hyperplastic gland showed a PRKACAL206R mutation, while patients with bilateral adenomas did not have known somatic mutations. PRKACA-mutant lesions were associated with younger age, overt Cushing’s syndrome and higher cortisol levels versus non-PRKACA-mutant or CTNNB1-mutant lesions. CTNNB1 mutations were more significantly associated with right than left lesions.

Conclusions: PRKACAL206R is present not only in adenomas, but also in unilateral hyperplasia and is associated with more severe autonomous cortisol secretion. Bilateral adenomas may be caused by yet-unknown germline mutations.

PMID:
25750087
[PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

From http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25750087

Corcept Therapeutics Announces Nine Poster Presentations on Mifepristone for the Treatment of Cushing’s Syndrome at the 97th Annual Endocrine Society Meeting – MarketWatch

ENDO_2015

 

Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated CORT,  a pharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of severe metabolic, oncologic and psychiatric disorders, today announced that a variety of posters about Korlym(R) (mifepristone) will be presented at the 97th annual Endocrine Society Meeting (ENDO 2015) being held at the San Diego Convention Center from March 5 – 7, 2015.

“We are pleased to see the breadth of new data being presented at ENDO 2015 about Korlym (mifepristone), which adds to the already substantial literature describing the use of mifepristone to treat Cushing’s Syndrome,” said Joseph K. Belanoff, M.D., Corcept’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to bringing innovative therapies to patients in need, and we look forward to continuing our pivotal role in advancing the scientific understanding of Cushing’s syndrome and other rare and debilitating diseases.”

Multiple endocrinologists, researchers and centers of excellence are presenting a total of nine abstracts.

Read the entire article at Corcept Therapeutics Announces Nine Poster Presentations on Mifepristone for the Treatment of Cushing’s Syndrome at the 97th Annual Endocrine Society Meeting – MarketWatch.

EU Looks to Okay Ketoconazole for Use in Cushing’s Syndrome

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended granting a marketing authorization for ketoconazole (Ketoconazole HRA; Laboratoire HRA Pharma) for the treatment of Cushing’s syndrome, a rare hormonal disorder sometimes called hypercortisolism.

Cushing’s syndrome is characterized by an excess of the hormone cortisol in the blood, which may be caused by a tumor. Treatment options currently available in the European Union include surgery to remove the tumor responsible for the high cortisol levels and radiotherapy, as well as several medicines that reduce the production of cortisol.

But pharmacological options remain very limited, and there is an unmet medical need for additional treatments, especially when surgery fails or for patients who cannot undergo surgery or take other medications. For this reason, the EMA’s CHMP evaluated the medicine under expedited review.

The opinion adopted by the CHMP at its September 2014 meeting is an intermediary step on Ketoconazole HRA’s path to patient access.

The CHMP opinion will now be sent to the European Commission for the adoption of a decision on an EU-wide marketing authorization. Once a marketing authorization has been granted, decisions about price and reimbursement will then take place at the level of each member state considering the potential role/use of this medicine in the context of the national health system of that country.

The recommendation is that Ketoconazole HRA is to be prescribed only by physicians specialized in treating Cushing’s syndrome, as the dosing needs to be individualized for each patient.

This is because oral ketoconazole was previously suspended in the European Union for the indication it was first approved for, fungal infections, due to risk for liver injury. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also decreed, at the same time, that doctors should no longer prescribe ketoconazole tablets as a first-line therapy for any fungal infection, for the same reason.

Information will be sent to healthcare professionals to allow them to advise patients and prescribe the medicine safely and effectively.

A Medicine Used Off-Label for More than 30 Years

Doctors have used ketoconazole to treat Cushing’s syndrome for more than 30 years, although it has never been authorized for this indication in the European Union. The drug is also frequently used off-label in the United States and elsewhere for this purpose.

The CHMP’s recommendation builds on information from published literature and documented off-label use in clinical practice.

At the time of the suspension of ketoconazole for fungal infections, healthcare professionals and patients were concerned that ketoconazole would no longer be available for patients with Cushing’s syndrome.

The CHMP therefore reviewed Ketoconazole HRA through accelerated assessment to facilitate patients’ access to a fully authorized medicine as soon as possible with evidence-based information for patients and doctors.

When assessing Ketoconazole HRA for the treatment of Cushing’s syndrome, the CHMP considered that “in this rare and potentially life-threatening condition, the medicine’s benefits are greater than its risks, which can be manageable in clinical practice by specific measures mitigating the risk of liver toxicity, including close monitoring of the patients’ liver function.”

In 2012, it was estimated that the disease affected approximately 46,000 people in the European Union. Cushing’s syndrome is a long-lasting condition that can be life-threatening because of its complications, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.

From http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/832399?src=rss

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