Cushing’s syndrome – A structured short- and long-term management plan for patients in remission

European Journal of Endocrinology, 08/30/2013  Review Article

harvey-bookRagnarsson O et al. – One–hundred years have passed since Harvey Williams Cushing presented the first patient with the syndrome that bears his name.

The focus of the long–term specialized care should be to identify cognitive impairments and psychiatric disorders, evaluate cardiovascular risk, follow pituitary function and to detect possible recurrence of Cushing’s syndrome.


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O Ragnarsson, Department of Endocrinology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

One-hundred years have passed since Harvey Williams Cushing presented the first patient with the syndrome that bears his name. In patients with Cushing’s syndrome body composition, lipid-, carbohydrate- and protein-metabolism is dramatically affected and psychopathology and cognitive dysfunction is frequently observed.

Untreated patients with Cushing’s syndrome have a grave prognosis with an estimated five-year survival of only 50%. Remission can be achieved by surgery, radiotherapy and sometimes with medical therapy.

Recent data indicate that the adverse metabolic consequences of Cushing’s syndrome are present for years after successful treatment. In addition, recent studies have demonstrated that health related quality of life and cognitive function is impaired in patients with Cushing’s syndrome in long-term remission.

The focus of specialized care should therefore not only be on the diagnostic work-up and the early post-operative management, but also the long-term follow-up.

In this paper we review the long-term consequences in patients with Cushing’s syndrome in remission with focus on the neuropsychological effects and discuss the importance of these findings for long-term management. We also discuss three different phases in the postoperative management of surgically treated patients with Cushing’s syndrome, each phase distinguished by specific challenges; the immediate post-operative phase, the glucocorticoid dose tapering phase and the long-term management. The focus of the long-term specialized care should be to identify cognitive impairments and psychiatric disorders, evaluate cardiovascular risk, follow pituitary function and to detect possible recurrence of Cushing’s syndrome.

PMID:
23985132
[PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

From http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23985132

Cushing’s Syndrome, Prostate Cancer and Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Orphagen has identified and characterized small molecule antagonists to steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1). SF-1 binds to and regulates DNA promoter elements in the major transporters and enzymes required for adrenal steroid synthesis. It is also required for development of the adrenal gland. SF-1 antagonists inhibit cortisol secretion in adrenal cells and have potential application in two orphan indications, Cushing’s syndrome and adrenocortical carcinoma. In addition, SF-1 appears to have an important role in the progression of advanced prostate cancer.

 

cushings-adrenocortical-crop

 

Cushing’s syndrome:
An estimated 20,000 people in the US have Cushing’s, with more than 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The incidence is similar in Europe. Cushing’s syndrome disproportionately affects females, who make up about 75% of the diagnosed cases. Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome can include obesity, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, osteoporosis and immune suppression. Cushing’s syndrome is caused by elevated secretion of cortisol from the adrenal gland, in association with pituitary, adrenal or other cancers.

Orphagen has identified small molecule antagonists to SF-1 that have the potential to suppress cortisol levels in all Cushing’s patients without serious side effects.

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC):
ACC is a rare malignancy with an extremely poor prognosis (5-year overall survival: 37-47%). Complete surgical resection offers hope for long-term survival but surgery is not an option in up to two-thirds of patients because metastasis has usually occurred by the time of diagnosis.

SF-1 is recognized as a potential mechanism-based therapeutic target for control of ACC and an SF-1 antagonist could be used in the treatment of ACC.

Pediatric ACC:
Pediatric ACC is a very rare but aggressive cancer with a long-term survival rate of about 50%. Approximately 60% of children with adrenocortical tumors are diagnosed before the age of four. The SF-1 gene is amplified and SF-1 protein is overexpressed in the vast majority of childhood adrenocortical tumors strongly implicating SF-1 in pediatric adrenocortical tumorigenesis.

Castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC):
CRPC is the most common cancer in males. Surgery is not an option if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, at which point patients typically receive hormonal therapy, essentially chemical castration. This course of therapy usually fails within two years, resulting in castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Most patients eventually succumb to CRPC, which is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men.
SF-1 antagonists may: (1) block the adrenal androgens that circumvent chemical castration, and are a primary cause of CRPC; and (2) inhibit synthesis of androgens within the prostate tumor itself, where SF-1 may control induction of enzymes for de novo androgen synthesis in treatment-resistant cancers.

From http://www.orphagen.com/research_cushings.html

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