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Pituitary Tumors Affect Patients’ Ability to Work, Reduce Quality of Life Pituitary tumor conditions, such as Cushing’s disease, have a substantial effect on patients’ work capabilities and health-related quality of life, researchers from The Netherlands reported. The study, “Work disability and its determinants in patients with pituitary tumor-related disease,” was published in the journal Pituitary. Pituitary tumors, like those that cause Cushing’s disease, have significant effects on a patient’s physical, mental, and social health, all of which influence their work status and health-related quality of life. However, the effects of the disease on work status is relatively under-investigated, investigators report. Here, researchers evaluated the work disability among patients who were treated for pituitary tumors in an attempt to understand the impact of disease diagnosis and treatment on their social participation and ability to maintain a paying job. In their study, researchers examined 241 patients (61% women) with a median age of 53 years. The majority (27%) had non-functioning pituitary tumors, which do not produce excess hormones, but patients with acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, prolactinomas, and Rathke’s cleft cyst also were included. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires to evaluate their health-related quality of life and disease-specific impact on their work capabilities. Each participant completed a set of five questionnaires. Participants also reported their hormonal status and demographic data, including gender, age, education, and marital status. Specific information, such as disease diagnosis, treatment, and tumor type was obtained from their medical records. Work status and productivity were assessed using two surveys, the Short-Form-Health and Labour Questionnaire (SF-HLQ) and the work role functioning questionnaire 2.0 (WRFQ). SF-HLQ was used to obtain information on the participants’ employment and their work attendance. Employment was either paid or unpaid. (Participation in household chores was considered not having a paid job.) WRFQ is a 27-question survey that determines work disability regarding being able to meet the productivity, physical, emotional, social, and flexible demands. A higher score indicates low self-perceived work disability. Disease-specific mood problems, social and sexual functioning issues, negative perceptions due to illness, physical and cognitive difficulties, were assessed using a 26-item survey called Leiden Bother and Needs for Support Questionnaire for pituitary patients(LBNQ-Pituitary). Overall, 28% of patients did not have a paid job, but the rates increased to 47% among those with Cushing’s disease. Low education, hormonal deficits, and being single were identified as the most common determinants of not having a paid job among this population. Further analysis revealed that more patients with Cushing’s disease and acromegaly had undergone radiotherapy. They also had more hormonal deficits than others with different tumor types. Overall, patients with a paid job reported working a median of 36 hours in one week and 41% of those patients missed work an average of 27 days during the previous year. Health-related problems during work also were reported by 39% with a paid job. Finally, health-related quality of life was determined using two questionnaires: SF-36 and EQ-5D. The physical, mental, and emotional well being was measured with SF-36, while ED-5D measured the health outcome based on the impact of pain, mobility, self-care, usual activities, discomfort, and anxiety or depression. In both SF-36 and EQ-5D, a higher score indicates a better health status. Statistical analysis revealed that the quality of life was significantly higher in patients with a job. Overall, patients with a paid job reported better health status and higher quality of life than those without a paid job. Although 40% of the patients reported being bothered by health-related problems in the past year, only 12% sought the help of an occupational physician, the researchers reported. “Work disability among patients with a pituitary tumor is substantial,” investigators said. “The determinants and difficulties at work found in this study could potentially be used for further research, and we advise healthcare professionals to take these results into consideration in the clinical guidance of patients,” they concluded. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/
Bilateral adrenalectomy, in which the adrenal glands are removed, has a bigger negative impact on the quality of life of patients with Cushing’s disease than other treatment options, a recent study suggests. This may be due to the longer exposure to high levels of cortisol in these patients, which is known to greatly affect their quality of life, the authors hypothesize. The study, “Bilateral adrenalectomy in Cushing’s disease: Altered long-term quality of life compared to other treatment options,” was published in the journal Annales d’Endocrinologie. Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain that secretes large amounts of adrenocorticotropic hormone, which, in turn, stimulates the adrenal glands to produce high levels of cortisol (a glucocorticoid hormone). The gold standard for treating Cushing’s disease is the surgical removal of the pituitary gland tumor. However, 31% of these patients still require a second-line treatment — such as another surgery, radiotherapy, medical treatment, and/or bilateral adrenalectomy — due to persistent or recurrent disease. Bilateral adrenalectomy is increasingly used to treat patients with Cushing’s disease, with high rates of success and low mortality rates. However, since the absence of adrenal glands leads to a sharp drop in cortisol, this treatment implies lifelong glucocorticoid replacement therapy and increases the risk of developing Nelson syndrome. Nelson syndrome is characterized by the enlargement of the pituitary gland and the development of pituitary gland tumors, and is estimated to occur in 15-25% of Cushing’s patients who have a bilateral adrenalectomy. Despite being cured with any of these treatment options, patients still seem to have a lower quality of life than healthy people. In addition, there is limited data on the impact of several of the treatment options on quality of life. Researchers in France evaluated the long-term quality of life of Cushing’s disease patients who underwent bilateral adrenalectomy and compared it with other therapeutic options. Quality of life was assessed through three questionnaires: one of general nature, the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36); one on disease-specific symptoms, the Cushing QoL questionnaire; and the last focused on mental aspects, the Beck depression inventory (BDI). Researchers analyzed the medical data, as well as the results of the questionnaires, of 34 patients with Cushing’s disease — 24 women and 10 men — at two French centers. The patients’ mean age was 49.3, and 17 had undergone bilateral adrenalectomy, while the remaining 17 had surgery, radiotherapy, or medical treatment. Results showed that patients who underwent a bilateral adrenalectomy were exposed to high levels of cortisol significantly longer (6.1 years) than those on other treatment options (1.3 years). This corresponds with the fact that this surgery is conducted only in patients with severe disease that was not controlled with first-line and/or second-line treatment. These patients also showed a lower quality of life — particularly in regards to the general health, bodily pain, vitality, and social functioning aspects of the SF-36 questionnaire, and the Cushing QoL questionnaire and BDI — compared with those who underwent other therapeutic options. This and other studies support the hypothesis that these patients’ lower quality of life may be caused by longer exposure to high cortisol levels, and “its physical and psychological consequences, as well as the repeated treatment failures,” according to the researchers. Additionally, the presence of Nelson syndrome in these patients was associated with a significantly lower quality of life related to mental aspects. The team also found that adrenal gland insufficiency was a major predictor of a lower quality of life in these patients, regardless of the therapeutic option, suggesting it may have a stronger negative impact than the type of treatment. They noted, however, that additional and larger prospective studies are necessary to confirm these results. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/09/28/bilateral-adrenalectomy-lowers-cushing-patients-quality-life-study/
MaryO posted a topic in News Items and ResearchI think I knew this already but it's still hard to read in print Functional remission did not occur in most patients with Cushing syndrome who were considered to be in biochemical and clinical remission, according to a study published in Endocrine. This was evidenced by their quality of life, which remained impaired in all domains. The term “functional remission” is a psychiatric concept that is deﬁned as an “association of clinical remission and a recovery of social, professional, and personal levels of functioning.” In this observational study, investigators sought to determine the speciﬁc weight of psychological (anxiety and mood, coping, self-esteem) determinants of quality of life in patients with Cushing syndrome who were considered to be in clinical remission. The cohort included 63 patients with hypercortisolism currently in remission who completed self-administered questionnaires that included quality of life (WHOQoL-BREF and Cushing QoL), depression, anxiety, self-esteem, body image, and coping scales. At a median of 3 years since remission, participants had a signiﬁcantly lower quality of life and body satisfaction score compared with the general population and patients with chronic diseases. Of the cohort, 39 patients (61.9%) reported having low or very low self-esteem, while 16 (25.4%) had high or very high self-esteem. Depression and anxiety were seen in nearly half of the patients and they were more depressed than the general population. In addition, 42.9% of patients still needed working arrangements, while 19% had a disability or cessation of work. Investigators wrote, “This impaired quality of life is strongly correlated to neurocognitive damage, and especially depression, a condition that is frequently confounded with the poor general condition owing to the decreased levels of cortisol. A psychiatric consultation should thus be systematically advised, and [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] therapy should be discussed.” Reference Vermalle M, Alessandrini M, Graillon T, et al. Lack of functional remission in Cushing's Syndrome [published online July 17, 2018]. Endocrine. doi:10.1007/s12020-018-1664-7 From https://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/general-endocrinology/functional-remission-quality-of-life-cushings-syndrome/article/788501/