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      Prognostic usefulness of ACTH in the postoperative period of Cushing’s disease

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          To analyze the usefulness of plasma ACTH in predicting CD remission after surgery and to evaluate the prognostic usefulness of ACTH measurement after the cortisol and ACTH nadir (48 h prior to discharge).


          A prospective study was made of 65 patients with CD operated upon between 2005 and 2016.


          Postsurgery plasma ACTH and cortisol were measured every 6 h, in the absence of corticosteroid coverage. Hydrocortisone was started in the presence of adrenal insufficiency or cortisol <55.2 nmol/L. Plasma ACTH was again determined before discharge.

          Main outcome measure

          Usefulness of plasma ACTH in predicting CD remission.


          Remission at 3 months of CD was achieved in 56 of 65 cases, with late recurrence in 18 of 58 cases. Following resection, the ACTH nadir was significantly lower referred to late remission (2.8 vs 6.5 pmol/L; P = 0.031) and higher for recurrence (2.1 vs 4.8 pmol/L; P < 0.001), and identical results were obtained for the ACTH values before discharge. In the analysis of the ROC curves, nadir and before discharge ACTH values <1.9 pmol/L and <2.6 pmol/L were respectively indicative of early remission (AUC 0.827; P < 0.001); <6.2 pmol/L of remission at 3 months (AUC 0.847; P = 0.001) and >3.2 pmol/L of recurrence (AUC 0.810; P < 0.001) in both ACTH values. A time to ACTH nadir <46 h was indicative of early remission (AUC 0.751; P = 0.001), while a time >39 h was indicative of recurrence (AUC 0.773; P = 0.001).


          We propose an ACTH value <3.3 pmol/L as a good long-term prognostic marker in the postoperative period of CD. Reaching the ACTH nadir in less time is associated to a lesser recurrence rate.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Cushing's syndrome.

          Cushing's syndrome results from lengthy and inappropriate exposure to excessive glucocorticoids. Untreated, it has significant morbidity and mortality. The syndrome remains a challenge to diagnose and manage. Here, we review the current understanding of pathogenesis, clinical features, diagnostic, and differential diagnostic approaches. We provide diagnostic algorithms and recommendations for management.
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            Treatment of Cushing's Syndrome: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline.

            The objective is to formulate clinical practice guidelines for treating Cushing's syndrome.
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              The Treatment of Cushing's Disease.

              Cushing's disease (CD), or pituitary-dependent Cushing's syndrome, is a severe endocrine disease caused by a corticotroph pituitary tumor and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The first-line treatment for CD is pituitary surgery, which is followed by disease remission in around 78% and relapse in around 13% of patients during the 10-year period after surgery, so that nearly one third of patients experience in the long-term a failure of surgery and require an additional second-line treatment. Patients with persistent or recurrent CD require additional treatments, including pituitary radiotherapy, adrenal surgery, and/or medical therapy. Pituitary radiotherapy is effective in controlling cortisol excess in a large percentage of patients, but it is associated with a considerable risk of hypopituitarism. Adrenal surgery is followed by a rapid and definitive control of cortisol excess in nearly all patients, but it induces adrenal insufficiency. Medical therapy has recently acquired a more important role compared to the past, due to the recent employment of novel compounds able to control cortisol secretion or action. Currently, medical therapy is used as a presurgical treatment, particularly for severe disease; or as postsurgical treatment, in cases of failure or incomplete surgical tumor resection; or as bridging therapy before, during, and after radiotherapy while waiting for disease control; or, in selected cases, as primary therapy, mainly when surgery is not an option. The adrenal-directed drug ketoconazole is the most commonly used drug, mainly because of its rapid action, whereas the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist, mifepristone, is highly effective in controlling clinical comorbidities, mainly glucose intolerance, thus being a useful treatment for CD when it is associated with diabetes mellitus. Pituitary-directed drugs have the advantage of acting at the site responsible for CD, the pituitary tumor. Among this group of drugs, the dopamine agonist cabergoline and the somatostatin analog pasireotide result in disease remission in a consistent subgroup of patients with CD. Recently, pasireotide has been approved for the treatment of CD when surgery has failed or when surgery is not an option, and mifepristone has been approved for the treatment of Cushing's syndrome when associated with impairment of glucose metabolism in case of the lack of a surgical indication. Recent experience suggests that the combination of different drugs may be able to control cortisol excess in a great majority of patients with CD.

                Author and article information

                Endocr Connect
                Endocr Connect
                Endocrine Connections
                Bioscientifica Ltd (Bristol )
                September 2019
                05 August 2019
                : 8
                : 9
                : 1262-1272
                [1 ]Department of Endocrinology , Hospital General Universitari de Castelló, Castellón, Spain
                [2 ]Department of Medicine , Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU, Castellón, Spain
                [3 ]Department of Endocrinology , Hospital Universitario de la Ribera, Alzira, Spain
                [4 ]Department of Neurosurgery , Hospital Universitario de la Ribera, Alzira, Spain
                [5 ]Department of Nursing , Universidad Católica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain
                [6 ]Centro de Salud Tavernes de la Valldigna , Hospital Comarcal Francesc de Borja, Gandía, Spain
                Author notes
                Correspondence should be addressed to C Fajardo-Montañana: fajardo_carmon@ 123456gva.es
                © 2019 The authors


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