Blood Sample from Tributary Adrenal Gland Veins May Help to Diagnose Subclinical Cushing’s Syndrome

Researchers report a new technique for collecting blood samples from tiny veins of the adrenal glands, called super-selective adrenal venous sampling (ssAVS). The technique can be used to help diagnose diseases marked by excessive release of adrenal hormones, such as subclinical Cushing’s syndrome (SCS) or primary aldesteronism (PA).

The study, titled “A Novel Method: Super-selective Adrenal Venous Sampling,” was published in JOVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments. JOVE has also made a video that demonstrates the procedure.

The adrenal glands are a pair of glands found above the kidneys that produce a variety of hormones, including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol. Excessive production of cortisol in the adrenal glands is the cause SCS, and aldosterone of PA.

These glands have central veins running through them, and three tributary veins (veins that empty into a larger vein). Conventional AVS collects blood from the central veins, but these veins have blood from the adrenal glands as well as blood in wider circulation flowing through them.

ssAVS uses tiny catheters — very long, narrow tubes inserted into blood vessels, called microcatheters — to collect blood from the tributary veins in both adrenal glands. Only blood from the adrenal glands flows through the tributary veins, making analysis of hormone levels easier, and pinpointing the region, or segment, of the gland that is not working properly.

A medical imaging technique, known as angiography, is used to track the positions of the microcatheters. Angiography is a procedure widely used to visualize the inside of blood vessels and organs, and takes roughly 90 minutes.

The paper reported on the use of ssAVS in three patients with adrenal gland disorders, and one (case #2) was diagnosed with SCS and PA. “Overall, in Cases #1 and #2, the ssAVS method clearly indicated segmental adrenal hormone production, not only for aldosterone, but for cortisol, and enabled these patients to be treated by surgery,”  the researchers reported.

Conventional AVS measures hormone levels in whole glands. It is useful for identifying which of the two glands is diseased, and the type of hormone that is overproduced. But sometimes both glands are affected, and only removal of the diseased parts in both glands is safe and effective.

That’s one of the reasons why ssAVS is so useful. By sampling the smaller, tributary veins in three different regions of each gland, the diseased parts can be identified. The diseased parts can then be removed from both glands, if medically advisable, leaving the healthy parts of the glands intact and functional.

ssAVS is also useful because it collects samples of blood coming directly from the adrenal glands, making analysis of hormone levels more reliable.

Researchers concluded that ssAVS is useful in both the diagnosis of adrenal gland disorders and for research that might lead to new therapies.

“Between October 2014 and September 2015, two angiographers … performed ssAVS on 125 cases … with a 100 % success rate and within a reasonable time (58 – 130 min) without adrenal rupture or thrombosis that required surgery,” they wrote. “The ssAVS method is not difficult for expert angiographers, and, thus, is recommended worldwide to treat PA cases for which cAVS does not represent a viable surgical treatment option.”

From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2017/10/17/subclinical-cushings-syndrome-may-be-diagnosed-via-blood-from-tributary-adrenal-gland-veins/

Basal Cortisol Elevated in Patients with ACTH-Staining Pituitary Macroadenoma

Preoperative identification of patients with silent adrenocorticotrophic hormone-secreting tumors could potentially change the approach to management. A new study aimed to determine whether a preoperative adrenocorticotrophic hormone stimulation test for evaluation of nonfunctional pituitary macroadenoma could aid in identifying adrenocorticotrophic hormone-staining pathology yielded large variability and did not allow clinical utility.

Thus, researchers concluded that larger, multicenter research is needed to determine whether this test can be useful.

“As ACTH stimulation tests are performed routinely when evaluating macroadenoma when there is no suspicion for a state of endogenous hypercortisolism, we sought to determine if the test could reliably identify these pathologies during the preoperative evaluation. We hypothesized that patients with subclinical Cushing’s disease or silent ACTH-secreting tumors would have a higher delta cortisol on the ACTH stimulation tests vs. other types of macroadenoma pathologies,” Kevin Pantalone, DO, ECNU, FACE, staff endocrinologist and director of clinical research in the department of endocrinology at Cleveland Clinic, told Endocrine Today.

Pantalone and colleagues performed a retrospective chart review of 148 patients with pituitary macroadenoma who underwent preoperative ACTH stimulation tests, with the goal of determining whether the test can aid in the identification of ACTH-staining pathology.

Overall, 9.5% of patients showed diffuse staining, 50.6% showed other-staining (diffuse staining for anterior pituitary hormones other than ACTH) and 39.9% showed no staining (no staining for any anterior pituitary hormones).

The researchers calculated delta total cortisol at 30 and 60 minutes from baseline and reviewed preoperative ACTH stimulation tests. Additionally, Pantalone and colleagues compared the basal and maximal delta cortisol between the ACTH-staining pituitary macroadenoma and the non-ACTH staining (n = 134), other staining (n = 75) and non-staining (n = 59) tumors.

According to data reported at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress, the ACTH-staining group had higher mean basal cortisol levels compared with the non-ACTH-staining (P = .012), other staining (P = .018) and the non-staining (P = .012) tumors. The researchers found no significant differences in maximal delta cortisol between the groups.

“While we found basal cortisol levels were higher in patients with ACTH-staining pituitary microadenoma vs. non-ACTH-staining macroadenoma, the large variability in cortisol values did not allow for clinical utility,” Pantalone told Endocrine Today.

“Unfortunately, in the end, our study was limited by the number of cases with ACTH-staining pathology. Thus, we were unable to determine if the ACTH stimulation test could reliably assist clinicians in potentially identifying ACTH-staining pathology in the preoperative setting,” he said. “A multicenter study, affording a large number of ACTH-staining tumors, is needed. This may allow for us to determine if the ACTH-stimulation test can really be clinically useful in preoperatively identifying ACTH-staining pathology.” – by Amber Cox

Adiponectin level may serve as predictor of subclinical Cushing’s syndrome

Unal AD, et al. Int J Endocrinol. 2016;doi:10.1155/2016/8519362.

 

In adults with adrenal incidentaloma, adiponectin levels may help predict the presence of subclinical Cushing’s disease, according to recent findings.

Asli Dogruk Unal, MD, of the department of endocrinology and metabolism at Memorial Atasehir Hospital in Istanbul, and colleagues analyzed data from 40 patients with adrenal incidentaloma (24 women; mean age, 61 years) and 30 metabolically healthy adults without adrenal adenomas or hyperplasia (22 women; mean age, 26 years). All patients with type 2 diabetes were newly diagnosed and not on any antidiabetic therapies; included patients were not using statin therapy for about 12 weeks.

Participants provided blood samples

Among patients with adrenal incidentaloma, eight (20%) were diagnosed with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome; median adenoma diameter in these patients was 3.05 cm. The remaining patients were classified as nonfunctional adrenal incidentaloma. Compared with patients who had nonfunctional adrenal incidentaloma, patients with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome had a higher median midnight cortisol level (9.15 µg/dL vs. 5.1 µg/dL; P = .004) and urinary free cortisol level (249 µg per 24 hours vs. 170 µg per 24 hours; P = .007).

In two group comparisons, researchers found that only adiponectin level was lower in the subclinical Cushing’s syndrome group vs. the nonfunctional adrenal incidentaloma group (P = .007); there were no observed between-group differences for age, BMI, waist circumference, insulin levels, homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) or lipid profiles.

Adiponectin level was negatively associated with insulin level, HOMA-IR, triglyceride level and midnight cortisol level, and was positively associated with body fat percentage, HDL and adrenocorticotropic hormone levels. In linear regression analysis, age was found to be an increasing factor, whereas sex, HOMA-IR, LDL, waist circumference and presence of subclinical Cushing’s syndrome were decreasing factors.

In evaluating the receiver operating characteristic analysis, researchers found that adiponectin level had a predictive value in determining the presence of subclinical Cushing’s syndrome (area under the curve: 0.81; 95% CI, 0.67-0.96). Sensitivity and specificity for an adiponectin value of 13 ng/mL or less in predicting the presence of subclinical Cushing’s syndrome were 87.5% and 77.4%, respectively; positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 50% and 96%, respectively.

“Presence of [subclinical Cushing’s syndrome] should be considered in case of an adiponectin level of 13 ng/mL in [adrenal incidentaloma] patients,” the researchers wrote. “Low adiponectin levels in [subclinical Cushing’s syndrome] patients may be important in treatment decision due to the known relation between adiponectin and cardiovascular events. In order to increase the evidences on this subject, further prospective follow-up studies with larger number of subjects are needed.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/in-the-journals/%7B81c38f07-b378-4ca1-806b-d5c17bea064c%7D/adiponectin-level-may-serve-as-predictor-of-subclinical-cushings-syndrome

Improvement of cardiovascular risk factors after adrenalectomy in patients with adrenal tumors and Subclinical Cushing Syndrome

Eur J Endocrinol. 2016 Jul 22. pii: EJE-16-0465. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Beneficial effects of adrenalectomy on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with Subclinical Cushing Syndrome (SCS) are uncertain. We sought to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis with the following objectives: 1) determine the effect of adrenalectomy compared to conservative management on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SCS and 2) compare the effect of adrenalectomy on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SCS versus those with a non-functioning (NF) adrenal tumor.

METHODS:

Medline In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trial were searched on November 17th, 2015. Reviewers extracted data and assessed methodological quality in duplicate.

RESULTS:

We included 26 studies reporting on 584 patients with SCS and 457 patients with NF adrenal tumors. Studies used different definitions of SCS. Patients with SCS undergoing adrenalectomy demonstrated an overall improvement in cardiovascular risk factors (61% for hypertension, 52% for diabetes mellitus, 45% for obesity and 24% for dyslipidemia). When compared to conservative management, patients with SCS undergoing adrenalectomy experienced improvement in hypertension (RR 11, 95% CI 4.3 – 27.8) and diabetes mellitus (RR 3.9, 95%CI 1.5- 9.9), but not dyslipidemia (RR 2.6, 95%CI 0.97 -7.2) or obesity (RR 3.4 (95%CI 0.95-12)). Patients with NF adrenal tumors experienced improvement in hypertension (21/54 patients), however, insufficient data exist for comparison to patients with SCS.

CONCLUSIONS:

Available low to moderate quality evidence from heterogeneous studies suggests a beneficial effect of adrenalectomy on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SCS overall and as compared to conservative management.

[PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

From http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27450696

Six controversial issues on subclinical Cushing’s syndrome

Abstract

Subclinical Cushing’s syndrome is a condition of hypercortisolism in the absence of signs specific of overt cortisol excess, and it is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, fragility fractures, cardiovascular events and mortality.

The subclinical Cushing’s syndrome is not rare, being estimated to be between 0.2–2 % in the adult population. Despite the huge number of studies that have been published in the recent years, several issues remain controversial for the subclinical Cushing’s syndrome screening, diagnosis and treatment.

The Altogether to Beat Cushing’s syndrome Group was founded in 2012 for bringing together the leading Italian experts in the hypercortisolism-related diseases. This document represents the Altogether to Beat Cushing’s syndrome viewpoint regarding the following controversial issues on Subclinical Cushing’s syndrome (SCS):

(1) Who has to be screened for subclinical Cushing’s syndrome?
(2) How to screen the populations at risk?
(3) How to diagnose subclinical Cushing’s syndrome in patients with an adrenal incidentaloma?
(4) Which consequence of subclinical Cushing’s syndrome has to be searched for?
(5) How to address the therapy of choice in AI patients with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome?
(6) How to follow-up adrenal incidentaloma patients with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome surgically or conservatively treated?

Notwithstanding the fact that most studies that faced these points may have several biases (e.g., retrospective design, small sample size, different criteria for the subclinical Cushing’s syndrome diagnosis), we believe that the literature evidence is sufficient to affirm that the subclinical Cushing’s syndrome condition is not harmless and that the currently available diagnostic tools are reliable for identifying the majority of individuals with subclinical Cushing’s syndrome.

Keywords

Subclinical hypercortisolism, Adrenal incidentalomas, Hypertension, Diabetes, Osteoporosis

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