1932

Abstract

The diagnosis of endogenous Cushing's syndrome requires demonstration of an increased cortisol secretion rate, best achieved by urinary free cortisol excretion determinations. In borderline or confusing cases, loss of diurnal cortisol rhythmicity, a combined dexamethasone/corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) test, or close monitoring of the patient for a few months will be helpful in ruling out pseudo- Cushing's. Primary adrenal Cushing's syndrome can be ruled out on the basis of a normal or elevated basal and/or CRH-stimulated plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and a negative adrenal computed tomography. ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome can then be differentiated on the basis of a CRH test and imaging procedures. A discrete pituitary lesion on magnetic resonance imaging and a standard CRH test with results consistent with such a lesion are sufficient to proceed to transsphenoidal surgery. If no discrete pituitary lesion is present, or if the CRH test is equivocal, bilateral simultaneous inferior petrosal sinus sampling with CRH administration is necessary to distinguish between a pituitary and an ectopic source. Surgery is the treatment of choice for all types of Cushing's syndrome. In the few cases in which transsphenoidal surgery fails or the disease recurs, repeat transsphenoidal surgery, or radiation therapy in association with mitotane treatment, is a reasonable alternative. Bilateral adrenalectomy effectively cures hypercortisolism if resection of the ACTH-secreting tumor is unsuccessful and radiation/medical therapy fails.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.med.47.1.443
1996-02-01
2024-04-20
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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