New Diagnostic Criteria for Subclinical Hypercortisolism using Postsurgical Hypocortisolism

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2016 Jun 24. doi: 10.1111/cen.13145. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

There is no consensus on the biochemical diagnostic criteria for subclinical hypercortisolism (SH). Using parameters related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, we aimed to develop a diagnostic model of SH for predicting postsurgical hypocortisolism and metabolic complications.

DESIGN:

Prospective and cross-sectional, observational, multicentre study in Korea.

METHODS:

After exclusion of overt Cushing’s syndrome, adrenal incidentaloma (AI) patients who underwent unilateral adrenalectomy (n = 99) and AI patients (n = 843) were included. Primary outcome was defined as the presence of postsurgical hypocortisolism; secondary outcome was the presence of ≥4 complications (components of the metabolic syndrome and low bone mass). Postsurgical hypocortisolism was determined on the fifth postsurgery day using the ACTH stimulation test.

RESULTS:

Thirty-three of the 99 patients developed postsurgical hypocortisolism. Analysis of the presurgery overnight 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test (1-mg DST) showed that all patients with cortisol levels of >138 nmol/l experienced postsurgical hypocortisolism, whereas those with levels of ≤61 nmol/l did not. The models of (i) 1-mg DST >138 nmol/l or (ii) >61 nmol/l with the presence of one among low levels of ACTH and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate had the highest accuracy (89·9%, P < 0·001) and odds ratio [OR 111·62, 95% confidence interval (CI) 21·98-566·74, P < 0·001] for predicting postsurgical hypocortisolism. Finally, patients with the same criteria in the 843 AI patients showed the highest risk for having ≥4 complications (OR 3·51, 95% CI 1·84-6·69, P < 0·001), regardless of gender, age, body mass index and bilaterality.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our proposed model is able to accurately predict subtle cortisol excess and its chronic manifestations in AI patients.

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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/

Lowest cortisol levels found in women with overweight, mild obesity

Women with overweight and class I obesity appear to have the lowest cortisol levels, while more significant obesity appears to be associated with higher cortisol levels, according to recent findings.

In the cross-sectional study, Karen K. Miller, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues evaluated 60 premenopausal women aged 18 to 45 years: 28 with overweight or obesity, 18 with anorexia nervosa and 21 healthy controls at normal weight. Overweight was defined as BMI 25 to 29.9 kg/m2, and obesity was classified as class I (30-34.9 kg/m2) and class II (35-39 kg/m2).

Anorexia nervosa was classified based on DSM-IV criteria, which includes extreme fear of weight gain, body image dysmorphia, weight that is 85% of ideal body weight and cessation of menstruation for 3 consecutive months. Participants were asked to collect 24-hour urine samples, in addition to 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. salivary samples within 1 week of an inpatient hospital visit. For each sample, researchers assessed creatinine clearance, and urinary free cortisol/creatinine clearance was calculated for each specimen to account for the decreased creatinine and filtered cortisol linked to anorexia nervosa.

During the inpatient visit, participants underwent placement of an IV catheter and fasting blood was sampled every 20 minutes from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Fasting cortisol and cortisol binding globulin concentrations were measured at 8 a.m. Participants were asked to take 5 g of oral dexamethasone every 6 hours for 48 hours to decrease endogenous disparities in cortisol levels.

The researchers found that with the exception of dexamethasone-suppression-CRH testing, all cortisol measures exhibited a U-shaped association with BMI, most notably urinary free cortisol/creatinine clearance (P = .0004) and mean overnight serum cortisol (P < .0001).

The lowest cortisol levels were seen in the overweight-class I obesity range, and these were also associated with visceral fat tissue and total fat mass. Participants with anorexia nervosa had higher mean cortisol levels than participants with overweight or obesity. Attenuated inverse relationships were seen between lean mass and some measures of cortisol, and most measures of cortisol were inversely related to posterior-anterior spine and total hip bone mineral density.

According to the researchers, these findings have not determined the precise nature of the relationship between cortisolemia, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activation and adiposity.

“The [hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal] axis activation associated with obesity and excess adiposity raises the question of whether hypercortisolemia contributes to increased adiposity in the setting of caloric excess, whether increased adiposity drives [hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal] activation, or whether the relationship between hypercortisolemia and adiposity is bidirectional,” the researchers wrote. – by Jennifer Byrne

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/obesity/news/online/%7B73cac1c4-af30-4f24-89e3-86f50d05aaa2%7D/lowest-cortisol-levels-found-in-women-with-overweight-mild-obesity

Cushing’s Syndrome

Prof André Lacroix, MDcorrespondence,  Richard A Feelders, MD, Constantine A Stratakis, MD, Lynnette K Nieman, MD

Hypothalamus-Pituitary- Adrenal Axis

I am a huge fan of Coursera.  This lecture is on the HPA Axis.

You may have to sign up/log in to view this video but Coursera is free – and you might find other courses of interest!

https://www.coursera.org/learn/physiology/lecture/DceZ9/hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis

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