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J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2003 Apr;88(4):1554-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-021518. Francesca Pecori Giraldi 1, Mirella Moro, Francesco Cavagnini, Study Group on the Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis of the Italian Society of Endocrinology Affiliations PMID: 12679438 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2002-021518 Abstract Cushing's disease (CD) presents a marked female preponderance, but whether this skewed gender distribution has any relevance to the presentation and outcome of CD is not known. The aim of the present study was the comparison of clinical features, biochemical indices of hypercortisolism, and surgical outcome among male and female patients with CD. The study population comprised 280 patients with CD (233 females, 47 males) collected by the Italian multicentre study. Epidemiological data, frequency of clinical signs and symptoms, urinary free cortisol (UFC), plasma ACTH and cortisol levels, responses to dynamic testing, and surgical outcome were compared in female and male patients. Male patients with CD presented at a younger age, compared with females (30.5 +/- 1.93 vs. 37.1 +/- 0.86 yr, P < 0.01), with higher UFC and ACTH levels (434.1 +/- 51.96 vs. 342.1 +/- 21.01% upper limit of the normal range for UFC, P < 0.05; 163.9 +/- 22.92 vs. 117.7 +/- 9.59% upper limit of the normal range for ACTH, P < 0.05). No difference in ACTH and cortisol responses to CRH, gradient at inferior petrosal sinus sampling, and cortisol inhibition after low-dose dexamethasone was recorded between sexes. In contrast, the sensitivity of the high-dose dexamethasone test was significantly lower in male than in female patients. Of particular interest, symptoms indicative of hypercatabolic state were more frequent in male patients; indeed, males presented a higher prevalence of osteoporosis, muscle wasting, striae, and nephrolitiasis. Conversely, no symptom was more frequent in female patients with CD. Patients with myopathy, hypokalemia, and purple striae presented significantly higher UFC levels, compared with patients without these symptoms. Lastly, in male patients, pituitary imaging was more frequently negative and immediate and late surgical outcome less favorable. In conclusion, CD appeared at a younger age and with a more severe clinical presentation in males, compared with females, together with more pronounced elevation of cortisol and ACTH levels. Furthermore, high-dose dexamethasone suppression test and pituitary imaging were less reliable in detecting the adenoma in male patients, further burdening the differential diagnosis with ectopic ACTH secretion. Lastly, the postsurgical course of the disease carried a worse prognosis in males. Altogether, these findings depict a different pattern for CD in males and females. From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12679438/
Metyrapone treatments helped patients with Cushing syndrome reach normal, urinary-free cortisol levels in the short-term and also had long-term benefits, according to a study published in Endocrine. This observational, longitudinal study evaluated the effects of the 11β -hydroxylase inhibitor metyrapone on adult patients with Cushing syndrome. Urinary-free cortisol and late-night salivary cortisol levels were evaluated in 31 patients who were already treated with metyrapone to monitor cortisol normalization and rhythm. The average length of metyrapone treatment was 9 months, and 6 patients had 24 months of treatment. After 1 month of treatment, the mean urinary-free cortisol was reduced from baseline by 67% and mean late-night salivary cortisol level decreased by 57%. Analyzing only patients with severe hypercortisolism, after 1 month of treatment, the mean urinary-free cortisol decreased by 86% and the mean late-night salivary cortisol level decreased 80%. After 3 months, normalization of the mean urinary-free cortisol was established in 68% of patients. Mean late-night salivary cortisol levels took longer to decrease, especially in severe and very severe hypercortisolism, which could take 6 months to drop. Treatment was more successful at normalizing cortisol excretion (70%) than cortisol rhythm (37%). Nausea, abdominal pain, and dizziness were the most common adverse events, but no severe adverse event was reported. Future research is needed to evaluate a larger cohort with randomized dosages and stricter inclusion criteria to evaluate metyrapone's effects on cortisol further. Study researchers conclude that metyrapone was successful and safe in lowering urinary-free cortisol after just 1 month of treatment and controlling long-term levels in patients with Cushing syndrome. This study was supported by Novartis. Reference Ceccato F, Zilio M, Barbot M, et al. Metyrapone treatment in Cushing's syndrome: a real-life study [published online July 16, 2018]. Endocrine. doi: 10.1007/s12020-018-1675-4 From https://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/general-endocrinology/metyrapone-cushing-syndrome/article/786716/
Measuring cortisol levels in saliva multiple times a day is a convenient and useful way to determine the best course of treatment for patients with Cushing’s syndrome, a preliminary study shows. The research, “Multiple Salivary Cortisol Measurements Are a Useful Tool to Optimize Metyrapone Treatment in Patients with Cushing’s Syndromes Treatment: Case Presentations,” appeared in the journal Frontiers of Endocrinology. Prompt and effective treatment for hypercortisolism — the excessive amount of cortisol in the blood — is essential to lowering the risk of Cushing’s-associated conditions, including infections, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Steroid hormone inhibitors, such as HRA Pharma’s Metopirone (metyrapone), have been used significantly in Cushing’s syndrome patients. These therapies not only suppress cortisol levels, but also avoid adrenal insufficiency (where not enough cortisol is produced) and restore the circadian rhythm, which is disrupted in Cushing’s patients. However, effective medical treatment requires monitoring cortisol activity throughout the day. Salivary measurements of cortisol are a well-known method for diagnosing and predicting the risk of recurrence of Cushing’s syndrome. The method is convenient for patients and can be done in outpatient clinics. However, the medical field lacks data on whether measuring cortisol in saliva works for regulating treatment. Researchers analyzed the effectiveness of salivary cortisol measurements for determining the best dosage and treatment timing of Cushing’s patients with Metopirone. The study included six patients, three with cortisol-secreting masses in the adrenal glands and and three with ACTH (or adrenocorticotropin)-secreting adenomas in the pituitary glands, taking Metopirone. Investigators collected samples before and during treatment to assess morning serum cortisol and urinary free cortisol (UFC). Patients also had salivary cortisol assessments five times throughout the day. Saliva samples were collected at 6 a.m. (wake-up time), 8 a.m. (before breakfast), noon (before lunch), 6 p.m. (before dinner), and 10 p.m. (before sleep). Other studies have used UFC assessments to monitor treatment. However, the inability of this parameter to reflect changes in diurnal cortisol requires alternative approaches. Results showed that although UFC was normalized in five out of six patients, multiple salivary cortisol measurements showed an impaired diurnal cortisol rhythm in these patients. Whereas patients with cortisol-secreting adrenocortical adenoma showed elevated cortisol levels throughout the day, those with ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma revealed increased levels mainly in the morning. This finding indicates that “the significance of elevated morning cortisol levels is different depending on the disease etiology,” the researchers wrote. In a prospective case study to better assess the effectiveness of performing multiple salivary cortisol assessments, the research team analyzed one of the participants who had excessive cortisol production that was not controlled with four daily doses of Metoripone (a daily total of 2,250 mg). Results revealed that cortisol levels increased before each dosage. After the patient’s treatment regimen was changed to a 2,500 mg dose divided into five daily administrations, researchers observed a significant improvement in the diurnal cortisol pattern, as well as in UFC levels. Subsequent analysis revealed that performing multiple salivary cortisol measurements helps with a more precise assessment of excess cortisol than analyzing UFC levels, or performing a unique midnight salivary cortisol collection, the researchers said. Although more studies are required, the results “suggest that multiple salivary cortisol measurements can be a useful tool to visualize the diurnal cortisol rhythm and to determine the dose and timing of metyrapone [Metopirone] during the treatment in patients with [Cushing’s syndrome],” the researchers wrote. Future studies should include a larger sample size, evaluate changes over a longer term, use a standardized protocol for treatment dosing and timing, and evaluate changes in a patient’s quality of life, the investigators said. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/02/15/multiple-saliva-cortisol-checks-cushings-metyrapone-study/
"As a potential solution to the limitations of these tests, hair cortisol has been increasingly studied as an additional means to diagnose patients with Cushing Syndrome. Much like hemoglobin A1C is a longitudinal marker of blood glucose levels, hair cortisol can be a measure of the body's glucocorticoid levels over the previous several weeks to months." Read more at https://cushieblog.com/2017/02/09/hair-test-for-cushing-syndrome/