Scalp Hair Cortisol Accurate in Cushing’s Syndrome Diagnosis

Scalp hair cortisol measurement is an accurate first-line diagnostic test for Cushing’s syndrome in adults and offers several advantages over other first-line diagnostic procedures, according to findings published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

“[Hair cortisol content] has practical advantages over currently used diagnostic tests, since sample collection can easily be performed in an outpatient setting and is not dependent on patient adherence to sampling instructions,” Elisabeth F. C. van Rossum, MD, PhD, professor at Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues wrote. “Furthermore, [hair cortisol content] measurement offers retrospective information about cortisol levels over months of time in a single measurement, thereby potentially circumventing the limitations posed by the variability in cortisol secretion in endogenous [Cushing’s syndrome].”

Van Rossum and colleagues analyzed data from 43 patients with confirmed endogenous Cushing’s syndrome and 35 patients with suspected Cushing’s syndrome in whom diagnosis was excluded after testing (patient controls), all evaluated between 2009 and 2016 at an endocrinology outpatient clinic at Erasmus MC. Adults from a previously published validation study served as healthy controls (n = 174). Researchers measured scalp hair samples, 24-hour urinary free cortisol, serum cortisol and salivary cortisol, and used Pearson’s correlation to determine associations between hair cortisol content and first-line screening tests for Cushing’s syndrome.

Hair cortisol content was highest in patients with Cushing’s syndrome (geometric mean, 106.9 pg/mg; 95% CI, 77.1-147.9) and higher compared with both healthy controls (mean, 8.4 pg/mg; 95% CI, 7-10) and patient controls (mean, 12.7 pg/mg; 95% CI, 8.6-18.6). Using healthy controls as the reference population, researchers found that the optimal cutoff for diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome via hair cortisol content was 31.1 pg/mg; sensitivity and specificity were 93% and 90%, respectively (area under the curve = 0.958). Results were similar when using patient controls as the reference population, according to the researchers.

Hair cortisol content was correlated with urinary free cortisol (P < .001), serum cortisol (P < .001) and late-night salivary cortisol (P < .001). In addition, in two patients with ectopic Cushing’s syndrome, researchers observed a gradual rise in hair cortisol content in the 3 to 6 months before disease diagnosis.

“Together with a straightforward sample collection procedure, this method may prove to be a convenient noninvasive screening test for [Cushing’s syndrome],” the researchers wrote. “Additionally, our results indicate that hair cortisol measurements provide clinicians a tool to retrospectively assess cortisol secretion in patients with [Cushing’s syndrome], months to years back in time. This also offers the opportunity to estimate the onset of hypercortisolism and thus the duration of the disease before diagnosis.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/in-the-journals/%7B72da0183-e1a8-48cb-a1fd-332c7999beb5%7D/scalp-hair-cortisol-accurate-in-cushings-syndrome-diagnosis

Cushing’s Syndrome Treatments

Medications, Surgery, and Other Treatments for Cushing’s Syndrome

Written by | Reviewed by Daniel J. Toft MD, PhD

Treatment for Cushing’s syndrome depends on what symptoms you’re experiencing as well as the cause of Cushing’s syndrome.

Cushing’s syndrome is caused by an over-exposure to the hormone cortisol. This excessive hormone exposure can come from a tumor that’s over-producing either cortisol or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH—which stimulates the body to make cortisol). It can also come from taking too many corticosteroid medications over a long period of time; corticosteroids mimic the effect of cortisol in the body.

The goal of treatment is to address the over-exposure. This article walks you through the most common treatments for Cushing’s syndrome.

Gradually decreasing corticosteroid medications: If your doctor has identified that the cause of your Cushing’s syndrome is corticosteroid medications, you may be able to manage your Cushing’s syndrome symptoms by reducing the overall amount of corticosteroids you take.

It’s common for some people with certain health conditions—such as arthritis and asthma—to take corticosteroids to help them manage their symptoms. In these cases, your doctor can prescribe non-corticosteroid medications, which will allow you to reduce—or eliminate—your use of corticosteroids.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t stop taking corticosteroid medications on your own—suddenly stopping these medications could lead to a drop in cortisol levels—and you need a healthy amount of cortisol. When cortisol levels get too low, it can cause a variety of symptoms, such as muscle weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and low blood pressure, which may be life-threatening.

Instead, your doctor will gradually reduce your dose of corticosteroids to allow your body to resume normal production of cortisol.

If for some reason you cannot stop taking corticosteroids, your doctor will monitor your condition very carefully, frequently checking to make sure your blood glucose levels as well as your bone mass levels are normal. Elevated blood glucose levels and low bone density are signs of Cushing’s syndrome.

Surgery to remove a tumor: If it’s a tumor causing Cushing’s syndrome, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tumor. The 2 types of tumors that can cause Cushing’s are pituitary tumors (also called pituitary adenomas) and adrenal tumors. However, other tumors in the body (eg, in the lungs or pancreas) can cause Cushing’s syndrome, too.

Pituitary adenomas are benign (non-cancerous), and most adrenal tumors are as well. However, in rare cases, adrenal tumors can be malignant (cancerous). These tumors are called adrenocortical carcinomas, and it’s important to treat them right away.

Surgery for removing a pituitary tumor is a delicate process. It’s typically performed through the nostril, and your surgeon will use tiny specialized tools. The success, or cure, rate of this procedure is more than 80% when performed by a surgeon with extensive experience. If surgery fails or only produces a temporary cure, surgery can be repeated, often with good results.

If you have surgery to remove an adrenal tumor or tumor in your lungs or pancreas, your surgeon will typically remove it through a standard open surgery (through an incision in your stomach or back) or minimally invasive surgery in which small incisions are made and tiny tools are used.

In some cases of adrenal tumors, surgical removal of the adrenal glands may be necessary.

Radiation therapy for tumors: Sometimes your surgeon can’t remove the entire tumor. If that happens, he or she may recommend radiation therapy—a type of treatment that uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and/or destroy cancer cells.

Radiation therapy may also be prescribed if you’re not a candidate for surgery due to various reasons, such as location or size of the tumor. Radiation therapy for Cushing’s syndrome is typically given in small doses over a period of 6 weeks or by a technique called stereotactic radiosurgery or gamma-knife radiation.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a more precise form of radiation. It targets the tumor without damaging healthy tissue.

With gamma-knife radiation, a large dose of radiation is sent to the tumor, and radiation exposure to the healthy surrounding tissues is minimized. Usually one treatment is needed with this type of radiation.

Medications for Cushing’s syndrome: If surgery and/or radiation aren’t effective, medications can be used to regulate cortisol production in the body. However, for people who have severe Cushing’s syndrome symptoms, sometimes medications are used before surgery and radiation treatment. This can help control excessive cortisol production and reduce risks during surgery.

Examples of medications your doctor may prescribe for Cushing’s syndrome are: aminoglutethimide (eg, Cytadren), ketoconazole (eg, Nizoral), metyrapone (eg, Metopirone), and mitotane (eg, Lysodren). Your doctor will let you know what medication—or combination of medications—is right for you.

You may also need to take medication after surgery to remove a pituitary tumor or adrenal tumor. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a cortisol replacement medication. This medication helps provide the proper amount of cortisol in your body. An example of this type of medication is hydrocortisone (a synthetic form of cortisol).

Experiencing the full effects of the medication can take up to a year or longer. But in most cases and under your doctor’s careful supervision, you can slowly reduce your use of cortisol replacement medications because your body will be able to produce normal cortisol levels again on its own. However, in some cases, people who have surgery to remove a tumor that causes Cushing’s syndrome won’t regain normal adrenal function, and they’ll typically need lifelong replacement therapy.2

Treating Cushing’s Syndrome Conclusion
You may need one treatment or a combination of these treatments to effectively treat your Cushing’s syndrome. Your doctor will let you know what treatments for Cushing’s syndrome you’ll need.

From https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/cushings-syndrome/cushings-syndrome-treatments

Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone syndrome caused by neuroendocrine tumors of the thymus

Background and purpose: Thymic neuroendocrine carcinomas (TNECs) are extremely uncommon. Certain cases of TNECs can produce the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cause ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS). The current literature on this topic consists mainly of case reports, and therapeutic guidelines are lacking. The aim of this study was to discuss the diagnosis, surgical management, and prognosis of EAS caused by TNECs to improve clinical experience with this rare disease.

Methods: From June 1984 to June 2014, at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital, the surgical interventions and follow-up outcomes of 16 consecutive patients (eight men and eight women) with EAS caused by TNECs were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: The median age was 32.5 years (range: 13–47 years), and the median disease duration was 8.5 months (range: 1–150 months). All patients presented with clinical and biochemical evidence indicating a diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome.

Contrast-enhanced thoracic computed tomography scans were critical to locating the ACTH-producing tumor and evaluating the feasibility of resection. All patients underwent surgery. One patient died of septicemia in the intensive care unit 2 weeks after surgery. No other morbidity or mortality occurred during the perioperative period. The median overall survival (OS) was 41 months (95% CI: 30.3–51.7 months), and the progression-free survival was 28 months (95% CI: 21.6–34.3 months). Both overall survival (P=0.002) and progression-free survival (P=0.030) improved significantly after complete resection.

Conclusion: TNEC is an extremely aggressive disease that should be considered when treating patients with Cushing’s syndrome due to ectopic ACTH secretion. In particular, all suspected patients should undergo contrast-enhanced thoracic computed tomography scans to facilitate early diagnosis. The current first-line treatment is surgical resection, and complete resection is a favorable prognostic factor. However, additional patients and a longer follow-up will be needed to determine the variables that are predictive of survival and to improve patient prognosis.

Download this article at https://www.dovepress.com/ectopic-adrenocorticotropic-hormone-syndrome-caused-by-neuroendocrine–peer-reviewed-article-OTT

Metopirone effective treatment for hypercortisolemia in Cushing’s syndrome

Hypercortisolemia in Cushing’s syndrome can be controlled with Metopirone therapy, according to recent study findings published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

John Newell-Price, PhD, FRCP, of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated 195 patients with Cushing’s syndrome to determine the effect of Metopirone (metyrapone, HRA Pharma) on the control of excess cortisol. Cushing’s syndrome was most commonly Cushing’s disease (n = 115), followed by ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH; n = 37), benign adrenal disease (n = 30), adrenocortical carcinoma (n = 10), ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (n = 2) and primary pigmented nodular adrenal hyperplasia (n = 1).

The biochemical parameters of activity of Cushing’s syndrome were measured by mean serum cortisol day-curve (target, 150-300 nmol/L), early morning serum cortisol and 24-hour urinary free cortisol.

Most participants received monotherapy (n = 164) and had significant improvements in excess cortisol during treatment. Significant improvements were revealed from first to last review for cortisol day-curve, early morning cortisol and 24-hour urinary free cortisol.

At last review, 55% of participants who had cortisol day-curve, 43% who had urinary free cortisol, 46% who had early morning cortisol less than 331 nmol/L and 76% who had early morning cortisol less than the upper limit of normal/600 nmol/L achieved control.

The median final dose of metyrapone was 1,375 mg among those with Cushing’s disease, 1,500 mg among those with ectopic ACTH, 750 mg among those with benign adrenal disease and 1,250 among those with adrenocortical carcinoma.

Twenty-five percent of participants experienced adverse events, with the most common being mild gastrointestinal upset and dizziness. Most of the adverse events occurred within 2 weeks of initiation or dose increase and were reversible.

“Overall more than 80% of patients showed an improvement in levels of circulating cortisol with over 50% achieving biochemical eucortisolemia when on monotherapy when assessed by the stringent criterion of control on a [cortisol day-curve],” the researchers wrote. “It is likely that additional therapies were added because of the severity of disease and clinician preference, but the retrospective and multicenter nature of our study precludes a formal assessment of this. Furthermore, our data support that metyrapone monotherapy is an effective treatment for hypercortisolemia either before or after surgical intervention to the primary cause of [Cushing’s syndrome].” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: Newell-Price reports various financial ties with HRA Pharma and Novartis. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/online/%7B067ff9a2-dbce-428f-be94-849e1f466150%7D/metopirone-effective-treatment-for-hypercortisolemia-in-cushings-syndrome

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Food-dependent Cushing syndrome: a new entity of organic hypercorticism

Matejka G, et al. Rev Med Interne. 1996.

Abstract

Diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome is quite difficult in endocrinology. Spontaneous Cushing’s syndrome is usually divided into two subgroups, one which is dependent on corticotropin (ACTH) and another one which is not.

In the first class are Cushing’s disease, the ectopic corticotropin syndrome and the rare ectopic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) syndrome; these ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome have usually diffusely enlarged adrenal glands.

In the second class are cortisol producing unilateral adrenocortical adenomas or carcinomas, and the recent Cushing’s syndrome with food dependent periodic hormonogenesis.

This food dependent Cushing’s syndrome is an ACTH-independent Cushing’s syndrome with multinodular enlargement of both adrenal glands. Pathogenesis is an aberrant adrenal sensitivity to physiologic secretion of gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP). Ectopic expression of GIP receptors on adrenal cells involve pathologic food induced cortisol secretion.

Food dependent Cushing’s syndrome is a new cause of Cushing’s syndrome. Food induced cortisol secretion may have to be explored in the ACTH-independent Cushing’s syndrome.

PMID

8758532 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Full text

Full text from provider (Elsevier Science) Article in French.

From http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/8758532/

Biography of a Food-Dependent Cushing’s patient

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