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  1. How stressed are you? Your earwax could hold the answer. A new method of collecting and analyzing earwax for levels of the stress hormone cortisol may be a simple and cheap way to track the mental health of people with depression and anxiety. Cortisol is a crucial hormone that spikes when a person is stressed and declines when they're relaxed. In the short-term, the hormone is responsible for the "fight or flight" response, so it's important for survival. But cortisol is often consistently elevated in people with depression and anxiety, and persistent high levels of cortisol can have negative effects on the immune system, blood pressure and other bodily functions. There are other disorders which involve abnormal cortisol, including Cushing's disease (caused by the overproduction of cortisol) and Addison's disease (caused by the underproduction of cortisol). People with Cushing's disease have abnormal fat deposits, weakened immune systems and brittle bones. People with Addison's disease have dangerously low blood pressure. There are a lot of ways to measure cortisol: in saliva, in blood, even in hair. But saliva and blood samples capture only a moment in time, and cortisol fluctuates significantly throughout the day. Even the experience of getting a needle stick to draw blood can increase stress, and thus cortisol levels. Hair samples can provide a snapshot of cortisol over several months instead of several minutes, but hair can be expensive to analyze — and some people don't have much of it. Andrés Herane-Vives, a lecturer at University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Institute of Psychiatry, and his colleagues instead turned to the ear. Earwax is stable and resistant to bacterial contamination, so it can be shipped to a laboratory easily for analysis. It also can hold a record of cortisol levels stretching over weeks. But previous methods of harvesting earwax involved sticking a syringe into the ear and flushing it out with water, which can be slightly painful and stressful. So Herane-Vives and his colleagues developed a swab that, when used, would be no more stressful than a Q-tip. The swab has a shield around the handle, so that people can't stick it too far into their ear and damage their eardrum, and a sponge at the end to collect the wax. In a small pilot study, researchers collected blood, hair and earwax from 37 participants at two different time points. At each collection point, they sampled earwax using a syringe from one ear, and using the new self-swab method from the other. The researchers then compared the reliability of the cortisol measurements from the self-swab earwax with that of the other methods. They found that cortisol was more concentrated in earwax than in hair, making for easier analysis. Analyzing the self-swabbed earwax was also faster and more efficient than analyzing the earwax from the syringe, which had to be dried out before using. Finally, the earwax showed more consistency in cortisol levels compared with the other methods, which were more sensitive to fluctuations caused by things like recent alcohol consumption. Participants also said that self-swabbing was more comfortable than the syringe method. The researchers reported their findings Nov. 2 in the journal Heliyon. Herane-Vives is also starting a company called Trears to market the new method. In the future, he hopes that earwax could also be used to monitor other hormones. The researchers also need to follow up with studies of Asian individuals, who were left out of this pilot study because a significant number only produce dry, flaky earwax as opposed to wet, waxy earwax. "After this successful pilot study, if our device holds up to further scrutiny in larger trials, we hope to transform diagnostics and care for millions of people with depression or cortisol-related conditions such as Addison's disease and Cushing syndrome, and potentially numerous other conditions," he said in a statement. Originally published in Live Science.
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  2. A team of scientists in Montreal and Paris has succeeded in identifying the gene responsible for the development of a food-dependent form of Cushing’s Syndrome, a rare disease affecting both adrenal glands. In their study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Dr. Isabelle Bourdeau and Dr. Peter Kamenicky identify in the gene KDM1A the mutations responsible for the development of this unusual form of the disease. The scientists also show, for the first time, that the disease is genetically transmitted. Bourdeau is a researcher and a Université de Montréal medical professor practising at the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM), while Kamenicky works at the Hôpital de Bicêtre, part of the Assistance publique-hôpitaux de Paris network in France. Cushing’s Syndrome is caused by the overproduction of cortisol, a steroid hormone, by the two adrenal glands located above the kidneys. “When the tissues of the human body are exposed to this excess of cortisol, the effects for those with the disease are serious: weight gain, high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis, and heart complications, for example,” said Bourdeau, co-lead author of the study with Dr. Fanny Chasseloup, a colleague from the French team. This discovery comes nearly 30 years after food-induced Cushing’s Syndrome was first described in 1992 by a research group led by Dr. André Lacroix at the CRCHUM and his colleagues Drs. Johanne Tremblay and Pavel Hamet. The form of the disease being studied by Bourdeau and her colleagues is caused specifically by the abnormal expression of the receptors of a hormone named GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide), in both adrenal glands of patients. This hormone is produced by the small intestine in response to food intake. For people with the disease, cortisol concentrations increase abnormally every time they ingest food. The discovery of the genetic mechanism by the French and Quebec teams was made possible through the use of recent cutting-edge genetic techniques on tissues of patients including those investigated by Dr Lacroix at CHUM. Bourdeau was aided by CRCHUM researcher Martine Tétreault during the computer analyses related to the research project. Earlier diagnosis thanks to genetic analysis “In general, rare diseases are generally underdiagnosed in clinics,” said Bourdeau, the medical director of the adrenal tumors multidisciplinary team at the CHUM. “By identifying this new gene, we now have a way of diagnosing our patients and their families earlier and thus offer more personalized medicine. At the CHUM, genetic analysis is already offered in our Genetic Medicine Division.” In a remarkable demonstration of scientific cooperation, the Quebec and French teams were able to collect and study tissue specimens available in local and international biobanks in Canada, France, Italy, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands. Blood and adrenal gland tissue samples of 17 patients—mostly women—diagnosed with GIP-dependent Cushing’s Syndrome were compared genetically with those of 29 others with non-GIP-dependent bilateral adrenal Cushing’s Syndrome. This was quite an accomplishment, given the rarity of the disease in the general population. It allowed the researchers to identify the genetic mutations of the KDM1A gene and to determine that the disease is genetically transmitted. Since 2009, the CHUM has been designated as the adrenal tumors quaternary care centre of the Quebec Cancer Program. About this study  “Loss of KDM1A in GIP-dependent primary bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia with Cushing’s syndrome: a multicenter retrospective cohort study,” by Drs. Fanny Chasseloup, Isabelle Bourdeau and their colleagues, was published Oct. 13, 2021, in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Funding was provided by the Agence nationale de la recherche, the Fondation du Grand défi Pierre Lavoie, the Institut national du cancer, the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé, INSERM and Assistance publique-hôpitaux de Paris. About the CRCHUM The University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) is one of North America’s leading hospital research centres. It strives to improve adult health through a research continuum covering such disciplines as the fundamental sciences, clinical research and public health. Over 1,850 people work at the CRCHUM, including more than 550 researchers and more than 460 graduate students Media contact Jeff HeinrichUniversité de MontréalTel: 514 343-7593 Lucie DufresneCentre hospitalier de l’Université de MontréalTel: 514 890-8000 p. 15380
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  3. Example: Make sure the last urine is exactly 24 hours after you started the clock (when you discard the first urine). Any 24-hour period is fine. Urinate at 7:00 am Monday morning and flush. Start your clock and collect every drop of urine up to and including 7:00 am on Tuesday morning (set an alarm if necessary). If you are doing multiple tests, they should give you a new jug when you turn the first one in. Your doctor or the lab should give you a urine "hat" - this will help with collection. If not, amazon sells them:
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  4. Urine Tests: These involve collecting urine, usually for periods of twenty-four hours at a time. Twenty-four Hour Urine: The doctor will give you a gallon collection jug, usually with boric acid in it. The instructions are usually printed on the side. Generally, you urinate first thing in the morning, as usual. after that, you collect the rest of the urine for the next 24 hours in the jug. The directions usually tell you to refrigerate the jug. Directions for the Twenty-four Hour Urine Test Physicians have always relied upon analysis of urine specimens in order to diagnosis and treat many disease processes. Twenty-four hour urine collections are often employed to estimate the production rates of various hormones. The accuracy of test results depends entirely on the accuracy of the urine collection technique. These instructions are provided as a guide to ensure that your 24-hour urine collection is obtained in a manner that will permit reliance upon the test results. Urine samples should be collected in a large cup, urine collection hat or other container and then poured into the large bottle. Do not try to urinate directly into the bottle. Void urine prior to bowel movements in order to avoid losing urine that might normally be passed during a bowel movement. Urine collection hats can usually be purchased at medical supply stores if not provided by your physician or lab. If you should have a bowel movement while urinating the urine collection hat should keep the urine clean if used correctly. Urine samples should be collected in a large cup or other container and then poured into the large bottle. Do not try to urinate directly into the bottle. Void urine prior to bowel movements in order to avoid losing urine that might normally be passed during a bowel movement. Some patients are asked to collect more than one consecutive 24-hour urine sample. If that is the case, you should complete the first collection as instructed. Then, begin the second collection by adding any urine made in the next 24-hours to the second bottle. You should not discard any urine when starting the second or any subsequent collections. Simply change bottles at the stop and start times after adding that last sample required to complete the previous collection. The bottles for some tests contain a weak acid as a preservative. Do not discard the acid. If you accidentally get acid or urine from the bottle on your skin or clothing, rinse the effected area immediately with plenty of cold water. Collection bottles must be refrigerated. This is best accomplished by using an ice chest, cooler, or if so inclined, your refrigerator. If you forget to collect all of the urine or perform the test improperly, discard the specimen and start again on another day. If the bottle contained an acid preservative, you will need to obtain a new bottle from the laboratory or your physician's office. Otherwise, you may reuse the bottle after rinsing it with distilled water. Finally, please remember to call your physician, medical provider or nurse if you have any questions about the proper collection of a 24-hour urine sample. This Topic on the Message Boards.
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  5. Kate** on the Cushing’s support board (Cushing’s Help and Support) wrote this letter after having pituitary surgery… Dear friends and family: I am writing this letter to share with you some basic facts about Cushing’s Disease/Syndrome and the recovery process so that you will have sufficient information to form realistic expectations about me and my ability to engage in certain activities in light of this disease and its aftermath. As you know, Cushing’s is a rarely diagnosed endocrine disorder characterized by hypercortisolism. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is vital to regulate the body’s cardivoascular functions and metabolism, to boost the immune system and to fight inflammation. But its most important job is to help the body to respond to stress. The adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stress, so atheletes, women experiencing pregnancy, and those suffering from alcoholism, panic disorders and malnutrition naturally have higher-than-normal levels of cortisol. People with Cushing’s Syndrome live life with too much cortisol for their bodies as a result of a hormone-secreting tumor. Mine is located in the pituitary gland. Endogenous hypercortisolism leaves the body in a constant state of “fight or flight,” which ravages the body and tears down the body’s major systems including cardivascular, musculo-skeletal, endocrine, etc. Symptoms vary, but the most common symptoms include rapid, unexplained weight gain in the upper body with increased fat around the neck and face (“moon facies”); buffalo hump; facial flushing/plethora; muscle wasting in the arms and legs; purplish striae (stretch marks) on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and breasts; poor wound healing and bruising; severe fatigue; depression, anxiety disorders and emotional lability; cognitive difficulties; sleep disorders due to abnormally high nighttime cortisol production; high blood pressure and high blood sugar/diabetes; edema; vision problems; premature osteoperosis; and, in women, signs of hyperandrogenism such as menstrual irregularities, infertility, hirsutism, male-patterned balding and steroid-induced acne. Cushing's Symptoms http://www.cushings-info.com/images/1/12/Lady.gif A sketch of a typical Cushing’s patient. As you can see, the effects of the disease on the body are dramatic. Worse, the psychological and emotional effects of having a chronic, debilitating and disfiguring disease range from distressing to demoralizing. Imagine that, in the space of a year, you became unrecognizable to those around you and to yourself. You look in the mirror, but the person staring back a tyou is a stranger. You endure the stares and looks of pity from those who knew you before Cushing’s, fully aware that they believe you have “let yourself go” or otherwise allowed this to happen to your body. Nothing you can say or do will persuade them otherwise, so at some point, you stop trying and resolve to live your life in a stranger’s body. You feel increasingly sick, but when you explain your array of symptoms to your doctor, you are dismissed as a depressed hypochondriac who needs to diet and exercise more. Worse, your family members think the same thing — and are often quick to tell you how you need to “change your lifestyle” to overcome the effects of what you eventually will discover, once properly diagnosed, is a serious and rare disease. If only it were so simple! No one would choose to have Cushing’s. Those of us who have it would not wish it even on our worst enemy. Most people with Cushing’s long for the ability to do simple things, like walk a flight of stairs without having to sit for half an hour afterwards, or vacuum the house or even unload a dishwasher. One of the worst parts about this disease is the crushing fatigue and muscle wasting/weakness, which accompanies hypercortisolism. Not only do we become socially isolated because of the virilzing effects of an endocrine tumor, which drastically alters our appearance, but we no longer feel like ourselves with regard to energy. We would love to take a long bike ride, run three miles or go shopping like we used to — activities, which we took for granted before the disease struck. Those activities are sadly impossible at times for those with advanced stages of the disease. Sometimes, as with any serious illness, performing even basic tasks of daily care such as showering and dressing can exhaust the limited reserves of energy available to a Cushing’s patient. How do we explain to you what it’s like to watch our lives slip away? What response is sufficient to express the grief and frustration over losing so much of ourselves? It is often difficult to find the strength to explain how your well-meaning words of prompting and encouragement (to diet or exercise) only serve to leave us more isolated and feeling alone. Though we wouldn’t want it, we wish our disease were as well-understood as cancer so that those who love us would have a frame of reference for what we go through. With Cushing’s, there is such limited public awareness that we are left to describe the effects of the disease from a void, often with limited understanding from those who love us most, which is disheartening. The most frustrating misconception about this disease is that we somehow are “doing this to ourselves,” or delaying recovery because we need to continue steroid replacement or lack the energy to excercise often, which is sadly false. Trust me that we would love to have that much control over such a terrible disease. Fortunately, there is a good likelihood of remission from Cushing’s in the hands of a skilled pituitary surgeon. Unfortunately, the long-term remission rate is only 56%, meaning that 44% of people with Cushing’s will require a second (sometimes third) pituitary surgery, radiation or bilateraly adrenalectomy to resolve the hypercortisolism. Without successful treatment, Cushing’s leads to death. Even with successful treatment, I will have to be monitored for possible recurrence for the rest of my life. After surgery or other treatment, the recovery period can last months or even years. Because the tumor takes over control of the body’s production of cortisol, the adrenal glands, which had lain dormant prior to surgery, require time to start functioning properly again. Until this happens, we must take synthetic steroids or else risk adrenal insufficiency or adrenal crisis, which can be quickly life-threatening. Careful monitoring of our cortisol levels is critical during the weaning period. It is a rare but sad fact that some people’s adrenal glands never return to normal, and those people must continue to take hydrocortisone or prednisone — sometimes for life — simply in order for the body to perform correctly its basic systemic functions. The physical recovery from surgery can be quick, but the withdrawal from hydrocortisone can be a lengthy and extremely painful process. As I described above, Cushing’s causes a tearing-down of muscles and bone. While there is an over-abundance of cortisol in our bodies (as a result of the tumor), we often can’t feel the effects of the muscle-wasting and bone deterioration because of the anti-inflammatory action of cortisol. Upon weaning, however, these become painfully (literally!) evident. The physical pain experienced while weaning from cortisol has been described as worse than weaning from heroin. When cortisol levels are low, one experiences the symptoms akin to a really bad flu, including severe fatigue (”like a wet cement blanket laid on top of me”); weakness and exhaustion; nausea; headache; vomiting; mental confusion. It is imperative for people who are on replacement steroids after Cushing’s surgery to carry extra Cortef (or injectable Solu-Cortef) with them at all times in addition to wearing a medic alert bracelet so that medical professionals will be alerted to the possiblity of adrenal insufficiency in the event of an adrenal crisis. People who have struggled with Cushing’s Syndrome all hope to return to “normal” at some point. Though none of us want to have Cushing’s, it is often a relief finally to have a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. For many, there is a gradual resolution of many Cushing’s symptoms within a few years of surgery or other successful treatment, and a good quality of life can be achieved. But regrettably, this is not possible in every case. Depending on the severity of the disease and the length of time before diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis can be poor and lead to shortened life expectancy and diminished quality of life. This is not a choice or something we can control, but it is the reality for some people who have suffered the consequences of long-term hypercortisolism. The best support you can give someone who is suffering from Cushing’s or its aftermath is to BELIEVE them and to understand that they are not manufacturing their illness or prolonging recovery. Ask them what they are able (and not able) to do, and then be prepared to help them in ways that matter — whether that be to bring them a meal or help them to run errands, pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy or clean their house. Because it’s these little everyday tasks, which can fall by the wayside when someone has (or has had) Cushing’s, and these are the things we miss the most: doing for ourselves. Ask us questions about the disease, and then actively listen to what we say. We know you don’t know much about Cushing’s — even our doctors sometimes lack information about this rare disease. But know we appreciate the interest and will tell you everything you want to know, because those of us who have it necessarily become experts in it just in order to survive. Thank you for caring about me and for hearing what I am saying in this letter. I know you love me and are concerned about me, and I appreciate that so much. Thank you also for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to discussing further any questions you might have. In the meantime, I am attaching a brief article written by a woman who recently was diagnosed with Cushing’s. I hope hearing another person’s experiences will help you to understand what I’m going through so that when we talk, we will be coming from a similar starting place. Endocrinologists (doctors who specialize in Cushing's Syndrome and its related issues) realize the medical aspect and know the damaging effects that Cushing's has on the body. Family and friends see their Cushie suffering and know they are hurting physically and often times mentally and emotionally. However, understanding the debilitation of Cushing's and how it can affect every aspect of a person's life can only be truly realized by those who have experienced the syndrome. Cushings Help Organization, Inc., a non-profit family of websites maintained by MaryO, a pituitary Cushing's survivor, provides this letter for patients to provide to their family and friends in hopes of providing a better understanding Cushing's and it's many aspects. We're sorry to hear that your family member or friend has Cushing's Syndrome or suspected Cushing's. A person may feel better at times then at other times. It's common for a Cushing's patient to have burst of energy and then all of a sudden they become lethargic and don't feel like moving a muscle. There are many symptoms that are associated with Cushing's. They include weight gain, fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, feeling achy all over, headaches, blurred vision, mood swings, high blood pressure, stretch marks (straie), buffalo hump, diabetes, edema and the list goes on. Hormones affect every area of the body. It is important to note that not all patients have every symptom. Even some hallmark symptoms, such as straie or the "buffalo hump", may not be noticable on every patient. Not everyone who has Cushing's will experience the same symptoms, treatment, or recovery. Because not all "Cushies" have these symptoms, it makes diagnosis even more difficult. Cushing's can cause the physical appearance change due to weight gain, hair loss, rosacea, acne, etc. This can be very disturbing when looking in the mirror. Changes in appearance can often cause the Cushing's patient to withdraw from family and friends making it a very lonely illness. Patients often feel alone or withdrawn because few others understand. Cushing's can affect affect anyone of any age although it is more commen in women. Cushing's patients need to be able to take one day at time and learn to listen to their bodies. There will most likely be times when naps are needed during the day and often times may not be able to sleep at night due to surges of cortisol. Your Cushie doesn't expect you to understand Cushing's Syndrome completely. They do need you to be there for them and try to understand to the best of your ability what they feel and not give up on them. Often a Cushing's patient may be moody and say things that they don't mean. If this should happen with your Cushie try not to take it personally and know that it's most likely caused by the elevated cortisol and disturbances in other hormone levels caused by the Cushing's and not from the heart or true feelings of your Cushie. It can be very depressing and frustrating having so many limitations and experience things in life being taken from you. Cushing's patients are sick, not lazy, not hypochondriacs or even the newer term "Cyberchondriacs". If a Cushing's patient says they don't feel like doing something or they express how bad they feel let them know that you believe them. One of the most frustrating things to someone who is sick is to have those you love not believe you or support you. Telling a Cushie to think positive thoughts will not make him/her well and will just be aggrivating. Testing procedures can be lengthy and this can become frustrating for the patient and family. Often, it takes a while for results to come back and this can be stressful. Don't look to far ahead just take one day at a time and deal with the situation that is at hand at the present time. After a diagnosis is made then it's time for treatment. Surgery is usually the best treatment option for Cushing's that is caused by tumors. Don't be surprised if the surgeon's facility wants to run even more tests or redo some of those that have already been done. Your Cushie may have to travel a ways to find a surgeon who is trained in these delicate surgeries and who has performed many of them. Once the diagnosis has been made and treatment has finished then it's time for the recovery process. Not all patients who have surgery are cured and they have to make a choice along with the advice of their doctor as to what their next treatment option will be. The recovery from the surgery itself is similar to any other surgery and will take a while to recover. The recovery process obtained from getting a cure from Cushing's is quiet different from other surgeries. A Cushing's patients body has been exposed to excess cortisol, usually for quite a long time, and has become accustomed it. When the tumor is removed that has been responsible for the excessive cortisol and the body is no longer getting it this causes the body to have withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be very hard causing an array of symptoms muscle aches, weakness, bone and joint pain, emotional disturbances etc. Thank you for reading this and we hope it will help you to understand a little more about Cushing's and the dibilating affect it can have on a person. Thank you for being there and supporting your Cushie during this time in their life. We realize that when a family member has Cushing's it not only affects the individual but other family members and those around them as well. Showing your love and support will encourage a speedy recovery for your Cushie. **Note: Kate died on on June 23, 2014. Read her In Memory page here: http://cushingsbios.com/2014/06/25/in-memory-kate-meyers/
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  6. The occurrence of different subtypes of endogenous Cushing’s syndrome (CS) in single individuals is extremely rare. We here present the case of a female patient who was successfully cured from adrenal CS 4 years before being diagnosed with Cushing’s disease (CD). The patient was diagnosed at the age of 50 with ACTH-independent CS and a left-sided adrenal adenoma, in January 2015. After adrenalectomy and histopathological confirmation of a cortisol-producing adrenocortical adenoma, biochemical hypercortisolism and clinical symptoms significantly improved. However, starting from 2018, the patient again developed signs and symptoms of recurrent CS. Subsequent biochemical and radiological workup suggested the presence of ACTH-dependent CS along with a pituitary microadenoma. The patient underwent successful transsphenoidal adenomectomy, and both postoperative adrenal insufficiency and histopathological workup confirmed the diagnosis of CD. Exome sequencing excluded a causative germline mutation but showed somatic mutations of the β-catenin protein gene (CTNNB1) in the adrenal adenoma, and of both the ubiquitin specific peptidase 8 (USP8) and the glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) genes in the pituitary adenoma. In conclusion, our case illustrates that both ACTH-independent and ACTH-dependent CS may develop in a single individual even without evidence for a common genetic background. Introduction Endogenous Cushing´s syndrome (CS) is a rare disorder with an incidence of 0.2–5.0 per million people per year (1, 2). The predominant subtype (accounting for about 80%) is adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-dependent CS. The vast majority of this subtype is due to an ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma [so called Cushing´s disease (CD)], whereas ectopic ACTH-secretion (e.g. through pulmonary carcinoids) is much less common. In contrast, ACTH-independent CS can mainly be attributed to cortisol-producing adrenal adenomas. Adrenocortical carcinomas, uni-/bilateral adrenal hyperplasia, and primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD) may account for some of these cases as well (3, 4). Coexistence of different subtypes of endogenous CS in single individuals is even rarer but has been described in few reports. These cases were usually observed in the context of prolonged ACTH stimulation on the adrenal glands, resulting in micronodular or macronodular hyperplasia (5–9). A sequence of CD and PPNAD was also described in presence of Carney complex, a genetic syndrome characterized by the loss of function of the gene encoding for the regulatory subunit type 1α of protein kinase A (PRKAR1A) (10). Moreover, another group reported the case of a patient with Cushing's disease followed by ectopic Cushing's syndrome more than 30 years later (8). To our knowledge, however, we here describe the first case report on a single patient with a cortisol-producing adrenocortical adenoma and subsequent CD. Read the rest of the article at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2021.731579/full
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  7. Christina Tatsi, Maria E. Bompou, Chelsi Flippo, Meg Keil, Prashant Chittiboina, Constantine A. Stratakis First published: 25 August 2021 https://doi.org/10.1111/cen.14560 Abstract Objective Diagnostic workup of Cushing disease (CD) involves imaging evaluation of the pituitary gland, but in many patients no tumour is visualised. The aim of this study is to describe the association of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings with the postoperative course of paediatric and adolescent patients with CD. Patients Patients with a diagnosis of CD at less than 21 years of age with MRI evaluation of the pituitary before first transsphenoidal surgery were included. Measurements Clinical, imaging and biochemical data were analysed. Results One hundred and eighty-six patients with paediatric or adolescent-onset CD were included in the study. Of all patients, 127 (68.3%) had MRI findings consistent with pituitary adenoma, while the remaining had negative or inconclusive MRI. Patients with negative MRI were younger in age and had lower morning cortisol and adrenocorticotropin levels. Of 181 patients with data on postoperative course, patients with negative MRI had higher odds of not achieving remission after the first surgery (odds ratio = 2.6, 95% confidence intervals [CIs] = 1.1–6.0) compared to those with positive MRI. In patients with remission after first transsphenoidal surgery, long-term recurrence risk was not associated with the detection of a pituitary adenoma in the preoperative MRI (hazard risk = 2.1, 95% CI = 0.7–5.8). Conclusions Up to one-third of paediatric and adolescent patients with CD do not have a pituitary tumour visualised in MRI. A negative MRI is associated with higher odds of nonremission after surgery; however, if remission is achieved, long-term risk for recurrence is not associated with the preoperative MRI findings. Full text at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cen.14560
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  8. SAN DIEGO, CA, USA I August 10, 2021 I Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: CRNX), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapeutics for rare endocrine diseases and endocrine-related tumors, today announced positive preliminary findings from the single ascending dose (SAD) portion of a first-in-human Phase 1 clinical study with CRN04894 demonstrating pharmacologic proof-of-concept for this first-in-class, investigational, oral, nonpeptide adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) antagonist that is being developed for the treatment of conditions of ACTH excess, including Cushing’s disease and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. “ACTH is the central hormone of the endocrine stress response. Even though we’ve known about its clinical significance for more than 100 years, there has never been an ACTH antagonist available to intervene in diseases of excess stress hormones. This is an important milestone for the field of endocrinology and for our company,” said Scott Struthers, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer of Crinetics. “I am extremely proud of our team that conceived, discovered and developed CRN04894 this far. This is the second molecule to emerge from our in-house discovery efforts and demonstrate pharmacologic proof of concept. I am very excited to see what it can do in upcoming clinical studies.” The 39 healthy volunteers who enrolled in the SAD cohorts were administered oral doses of CRN04894 (10 mg to 80 mg, or placebo) two hours prior to a challenge with synthetic ACTH. Analyses of basal cortisol levels (before ACTH challenge) showed that CRN04894 produced a rapid and dose-dependent reduction of cortisol by 25-56%. After challenge with a supra-pathophysiologic dose of ACTH (250 mcg), CRN04894 suppressed cortisol (as measured by AUC) up to 41%. After challenge with a disease-relevant dose of ACTH (1 mcg), CRN04894 showed a clinically meaningful reduction in cortisol AUC of 48%. These reductions in cortisol suggest that CRN04894 is bound with high affinity to its target receptor on the adrenal gland and blocking the activity of ACTH. CRN04894 was well tolerated in the healthy volunteers who enrolled in these SAD cohorts and all adverse events were considered mild. “We are very encouraged by these single ascending dose data which clearly demonstrate proof of ACTH antagonism with CRN04894 exposure in healthy volunteers,” stated Alan Krasner, M.D., chief medical officer of Crinetics. “We look forward to completing this study and assessing results from the multiple ascending dose cohorts. As a clinical endocrinologist, I recognize the pioneering nature of this work and eagerly look forward to further understanding the potential of CRN04894 for the treatment of diseases of ACTH excess.” Data Review Conference Call Crinetics will hold a conference call and live audio webcast today, August 10, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss the results of the CRN04894 SAD cohorts. To participate, please dial 800-772-3714 (domestic) or 212-271-4615 (international) and refer to conference ID 21996541. To access the webcast, please visit the Events page on the Crinetics website. The archived webcast will be available for 90 days. About the CRN04894-01 Phase 1 Study Crinetics is enrolling healthy volunteers in this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 1 study of CRN04894. Participants will be divided into multiple cohorts in the single ascending dose (SAD) and multiple ascending dose (MAD) phases of the study. In the SAD phase, safety and pharmacokinetics are assessed. In addition, pharmacodynamic responses are evaluated before and after challenges with injected synthetic ACTH to assess pharmacologic effects resulting from exposure to CRN04894. In the MAD phase, participants will be administered placebo or ascending doses of study drug daily for 10 days. Assessments of safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics will also be performed after repeat dosing. About CRN04894 Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is synthesized and secreted by the pituitary gland and binds to melanocortin type 2 receptor (MC2R), which is selectively expressed in the adrenal gland. This interaction of ACTH with MCR2 stimulates the adrenal production of cortisol, a stress hormone that is involved in the regulation of many systems. Cortisol is involved for example in the regulation of blood sugar levels, metabolism, inflammation, blood pressure, and memory formulation, and excess adrenal androgen production can result in hirsutism, menstrual dysfunction, infertility in men and women, acne, cardiometabolic comorbidities and insulin resistance. Diseases associated with excess of ACTH, therefore, can have significant impact on physical and mental health. Crinetics’ ACTH antagonist, CRN04894, has exhibited strong binding affinity for MC2R in preclinical models and demonstrated suppression of adrenally derived glucocorticoids and androgens that are under the control of ACTH, while maintaining mineralocorticoid production. About Cushing’s Disease and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Cushing’s disease is a rare disease with a prevalence of approximately 10,000 patients in the United States. It is more common in women, between 30 and 50 years of age. Cushing’s disease often takes many years to diagnose and may well be under-diagnosed in the general population as many of its symptoms such as lethargy, depression, obesity, hypertension, hirsutism, and menstrual irregularity can be incorrectly attributed to other more common disorders. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) encompasses a set of disorders that are caused by genetic mutations that result in impaired cortisol synthesis with a prevalence of approximately 27,000 patients in the United States. This lack of cortisol leads to a loss of feedback mechanisms and results in persistently high levels of ACTH, which in turn causes overstimulation of the adrenal cortex. The resulting adrenal hyperplasia and over-secretion of other steroids (particularly androgens) and steroid precursors can lead to a variety of effects from improper gonadal development to life-threatening adrenal crisis. About Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Crinetics Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapeutics for rare endocrine diseases and endocrine-related tumors. The company’s lead product candidate, paltusotine, is an investigational, oral, selective nonpeptide somatostatin receptor type 2 agonist for the treatment of acromegaly, an orphan disease affecting more than 26,000 people in the United States. A Phase 3 program to evaluate safety and efficacy of paltusotine for the treatment of acromegaly is underway. Crinetics also plans to advance paltusotine into a Phase 2 trial for the treatment of carcinoid syndrome associated with neuroendocrine tumors. The company is also developing CRN04777, an investigational, oral, nonpeptide somatostatin receptor type 5 (SST5) agonist for congenital hyperinsulinism, as well as CRN04894, an investigational, oral, nonpeptide ACTH antagonist for the treatment of Cushing’s disease, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and other diseases of excess ACTH. All of the company’s drug candidates are new chemical entities resulting from in-house drug discovery efforts and are wholly owned by the company. SOURCE: Crinetics Pharmaceuticals From https://pipelinereview.com/index.php/2021081178950/Small-Molecules/Crinetics-Pharmaceuticals-Oral-ACTH-Antagonist-CRN04894-Demonstrates-Pharmacologic-Proof-of-Concept-with-Dose-Dependent-Cortisol-Suppression-in-Single-Ascending-Dose-Port.html
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  9. All of our country is very encouraged by the declining rates in both COVID-19 infections and death, due mostly to President Trump’s vaccine production and trial effort called Operation Warp Speed and President Biden’s vaccine distribution efforts. As of July 2021, The United States has administered 334,600,770 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 184,132,768 people had received at least one dose while 159,266,536 people are fully vaccinated. The pandemic is by no means over, as people are still getting infected with COVID-19 with the emergence of the Delta Variant. In fact, recently cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 have gone up. In Los Angeles, the increased infection rate has led to indoor mask requirements. The main reason that COVID-19 has not been eliminated is because of vaccine hesitancy, which is often due to misinformation propagated on websites and social media. One of Dr. Friedman's patients gave him a link of an alternative doctor who gave multiple episodes of misinformation subtitled “Evidence suggests people who have received the COVID “vaccine” may have a reduced lifespan” about the COVID-19 vaccine that Dr. Friedman wants to address. Almost 30% of American say they will not get the vaccine, up from 20% a few months ago. Statistics are that people who are vaccinated have a 1:1,000,000 chance of dying from COVID, while people who are unvaccinated have a 1:500 chance of dying from COVID. I think most people would take the 1:1,000,000 risk. Dr. Friedman has always been a proponent of the COVID-19 vaccine because he is a scientist and bases his decisions on peer-reviewed literature and not social media posts. As we are getting to the stage where the COVID-19 pandemic could end if vaccination rates increase, he feels that it is even more important for people to get correct information about the COVID-19 vaccine. MYTH: People are dying at high rates from the COVID-19 vaccine and the rates of complications and deaths are underreported. FACT: The rates of complications and deaths from the vaccine are overreported. It is a fact that when 200 million people get a vaccine, some of them will get blood clots, some of them will have a heart attack, some of them will have strokes, some of them will have optic neuritis and some will have Guillain-Barré syndrome. These complications may not be due to the vaccine, but people remember that they got the vaccine recently. Anti-vaccine websites seem to play up on this and give false information that COVID-19 complications are underreported and fail to note that there is no control group, so we do not know how many people would have gotten blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks if they did not get the vaccine. For example, one anti-vaccine website highlighted a Tamil (Indian) actor Vivek, who died of a massive heart attack 5 days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine and tried to make a case that the vaccine caused that. Of course, the massive heart attack was due to years of buildup of cholesterol in his coronary arteries and had nothing to do with the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, the complications attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine occur less frequently in those vaccinated than unvaccinated. The only complication that seems to possibly be more common in people who get vaccinated is blood clots, and the rate of that is still quite low. Overwhelmingly, the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and safe. MYTH: I had COVID-19 before. I don't need a vaccine. Natural immunity is better than a vaccine immunity. FACT: Most studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are more effective, with longer-lasting immunity, than only having the COVID-19 infection. The immunity after natural infection varies and may be quite minimal in patients who had mild COVID-19 and likely declines within a couple of months of infection. In contrast, those who got the vaccine seem to have high levels of immunity even months after getting the vaccine. The vaccine also protects against the COVID-19 variants. If someone had one variant, it is unlikely that their natural immunity would protect them against other variants. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine leads to spike proteins circulating in your body for months after the vaccine. FACT: The mRNA from the vaccine, the spike protein that it generates, and all of the products of the COVID-19 vaccine are gone within hours, if not days, and do not hang around the body. MYTH: There is likely to be long-term effects, including infertility effects, of the COVID-19 vaccine. FACT: As the viral particles and proteins are gone within a couple hours to days and the vaccine only enters the cytoplasm and does not enter the DNA, it is very unlikely that there will be long-term effects. So far, the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine have not resulted in any detrimental effects, and it has been a year since the trials started. Other vaccines have been used safely and do not give long-term side effects. There is no reason to think that this vaccine would give long-term side effects, and we have not seen any evidence of long-term side effects currently. Pregnant women who received COVID-19 vaccines have similar rates adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes (e.g., fetal loss, preterm birth, small size for gestational age, congenital anomalies, and neonatal death) as with pregnant women who did not receive vaccines. MYTH: People with autoimmune disease should not get the vaccine. FACT: Persons with autoimmune disease are likely more susceptible to COVID-19, and they should especially get the vaccine. People with preexisting conditions, including autoimmune diseases, have been shown to be give generally excellent immune responses to the vaccine, and it should especially be given to patients with Addison’s disease or Cushing's disease who may have higher rates of getting more severe COVID-19. In fact, the CDC as well Dr. Friedman recommends EVERYONE getting the vaccine, except 1) those under 12, 2) those who had an anaphylactic reaction to their first COVID-19 vaccine. Patients with AIDS, and those on immunosuppressive therapy for cancers, organ transplants and rheumatological conditions, may not be fully protected from vaccines and should be cautious (including wearing masks and social distancing), but still should get vaccinated. MYTH: Patients with autoimmune diseases, and other conditions do not mount an adequate immune response to the vaccine and may even should get a booster shot. FACT: The only patients that have been found not to have a good immune response to the vaccine is those with AIDS or on immunosuppressive drugs that are used in people with rheumatological diseases or transplants. With these exception, patients appear to mount a good immune response to the vaccine regardless of their preexisting condition and do not need a booster shot. MYTH: Why should I bother with the vaccine if it is going to require a booster shot? FACT: It is unclear whether booster shots will be required or not. Currently, the CDC and FDA do not recommend a booster shot, but Pfizer has petitioned the FDA to consider it and is starting more studies on whether a booster shot is effective. It is currently believed that the vaccine retains effectiveness for months to years after it is given. MYTH: We are almost at herd immunity now. Why bother getting a vaccine? FACT: We are not at herd immunity as people are still getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Dr. Friedman recently lost to COVID-19 his 43-year old patient with obesity and diabetes at MLK Outpatient Center. There are pockets in the United States with low vaccine rates, especially in the South. The vaccine is spreading among unvaccinated people, while the rate of spread among vaccinated people is quite low. Approximately 98% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. It is important from a public health viewpoint for all Americans to get vaccinated. MYTH: There is nothing to be concerned with about the variants. FACT: Especially the delta variant appears to be more contagious and aggressive than the other variants currently. The vaccines do appear to be effective against the delta variant but possibly a little less so. Variants multiply and can generate new variants only if they are infected into patients who are unvaccinated. To end the emergence of new variants, it is important for all Americans to get vaccinated. MYTH: I could just be careful, and I will not get the COVID-19 vaccine. FACT: Thousands of people who were careful and got COVID-19 and either died from it or became extremely sick. The best prevention against getting COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. MYTH: I am young. I do not have to worry about getting COVID. FACT: Many young people have gotten sick and died of COVID-19 and also, they are contagious and can spread COVID-19 if they are not vaccinated. Everyone, regardless of their age, as long as they are over 12, should get vaccinated. MYTH: If children under 12 are not vaccinated, the virus will still spread. FACT: The FDA and CDC do not recommend the vaccine for those under 12. They are very unlikely to get COVID-19 and are very unlikely to transmit it to others. They are the one group that does not need to get vaccinated. MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines are an experimental vaccine. FACT: While it is true that the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines were granted emergency use authorization in December 2020 (Pfizer and Moderna) and Johnson and Johnson in February 2021. Both Pfizer and Moderna have petitioned the FDA for full approval, but by no means are these vaccines experimental. As mentioned, over 180 million Americans and many more worldwide have received the vaccine. This is more than any other FDA approved medication. Clinical trials are still ongoing and have enrolled thousands of people and Israel has monitored the effect of COVID-19 vaccines in 7 million Israelis. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine is a government plot to kill or injure people or a war against G-d. FACT: Yeah right If you want the pandemic to end, please get vaccinated and encourage your friends and colleagues to get vaccinated. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Friedman, go to goodhormonehealth.com
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  10. Rachel Acree, Caitlin M Miller, Brent S Abel, Nicola M Neary, Karen Campbell, Lynnette K Nieman Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 5, Issue 8, August 2021, bvab109, https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvab109 Abstract Context Cushing syndrome (CS) is associated with impaired health-related quality of life (HRQOL) even after surgical cure. Objective To characterize patient and provider perspectives on recovery from CS, drivers of decreased HRQOL during recovery, and ways to improve HRQOL. Design Cross-sectional observational survey. Participants Patients (n = 341) had undergone surgery for CS and were members of the Cushing’s Support and Research Foundation. Physicians (n = 54) were Pituitary Society physician members and academicians who treated patients with CS. Results Compared with patients, physicians underestimated the time to complete recovery after surgery (12 months vs 18 months, P = 0.0104). Time to recovery did not differ by CS etiology, but patients with adrenal etiologies of CS reported a longer duration of cortisol replacement medication compared with patients with Cushing disease (12 months vs 6 months, P = 0.0025). Physicians overestimated the benefits of work (26.9% vs 65.3%, P < 0.0001), exercise (40.9% vs 77.6%, P = 0.0001), and activities (44.8% vs 75.5%, P = 0.0016) as useful coping mechanisms in the postsurgical period. Most patients considered family/friends (83.4%) and rest (74.7%) to be helpful. All physicians endorsed educating patients on recovery, but 32.4% (95% CI, 27.3-38.0) of patients denied receiving sufficient information. Some patients did not feel prepared for the postsurgical experience (32.9%; 95% CI, 27.6-38.6) and considered physicians not familiar enough with CS (16.1%; 95% CI, 12.2-20.8). Conclusion Poor communication between physicians and CS patients may contribute to dissatisfaction with the postsurgical experience. Increased information on recovery, including helpful coping mechanisms, and improved provider-physician communication may improve HRQOL during recovery. Read the entire article in the enclosed PDF. bvab109.pdf
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  11. Mayela, I'm so sorry you went through COVID but glad you're on the other side of it now. And a relapse doesn't sound like any fun Thanks for the update on The GRACE trial, though. Please keep us updated on your recovery from COVID and your relapse.
    2 points
  12. Osilodrostat therapy was found to be effective in improving blood pressure parameters, health-related quality of life, depression, and other signs and symptoms in patients with Cushing disease, regardless of the degree of cortisol control, according to study results presented at the 30th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (ENVISION 2021). Investigators of the LINC 3 study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02180217), a phase 3, multicenter study with a double-blind, randomized withdrawal period, sought to assess the effects of twice-daily osilodrostat (2-30 mg) on signs, symptoms, and health-related quality of life in 137 patients with Cushing disease. Study endpoints included change in various parameters from baseline to week 48, including mean urinary free cortisol (mUFC) status, cardiovascular-related measures, physical features, Cushing Quality-of-Life score, and Beck Depression Inventory score. Participants were assessed every 2, 4, or 12 weeks depending on the study period, and eligible participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to withdrawal at week 24. The median age of participants was 40.0 years, and women made up 77.4% of the cohort. Of 137 participants, 132 (96%) achieved controlled mUFC at least once during the core study period. At week 24, patients with controlled or partially controlled mUFC showed improvements in blood pressure that were not seen in patients with uncontrolled mUFC; at week 48, improvement in blood pressure occurred regardless of mUFC status. Cushing Quality-of-Life and Beck Depression Inventory scores, along with other metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, improved from baseline to week 24 and week 48 regardless of degree of mUFC control. Additionally, most participants reported improvements in physical features of hypercortisolism, including hirsutism, at week 24 and week 48. The researchers indicated that the high response rate with osilodrostat treatment was sustained during the 48 weeks of treatment, with 96% of patients achieving controlled mUFC levels; improvements in clinical signs, physical features, quality of life, and depression were reported even among patients without complete mUFC normalization. Disclosure: This study was sponsored by Novartis Pharma AG; however, as of July 12, 2019, osilodrostat is an asset of Recordati AG. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. Visit Endocrinology Advisor‘s conference section for complete coverage from the AACE Annual Meeting 2021: ENVISION. Reference Pivonello R, Fleseriu M, Newell-Price J, et al. Effect of osilodrostat on clinical signs, physical features and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) by degree of mUFC control in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD): results from the LINC 3 study. Presented at: 2021 AACE Virtual Annual Meeting, May 26-29, 2021. From https://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/home/conference-highlights/aace-2021/osilodrostat-improves-blood-pressure-hrqol-and-depression-in-patients-with-cushing-disease/
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  13. HRA Pharma Rare Diseases, an affiliate of privately-held French healthcare company HRA Pharma, has revealed data from the six-month extension of PROMPT, the first ever prospective study designed to evaluate metyrapone long-term efficacy and tolerability in endogenous Cushing’s syndrome. After confirming good efficacy and safety of metyrapone in the first phase of the study that ran for 12 weeks, the results of the six-month extension showed that metyrapone successfully maintains low urinary free cortisol (UFC) levels with good tolerability. The data will be presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology 2021 next week. Metyrapone is approved in Europe for the treatment of endogenous Cushing’s syndrome. It works by inhibiting the 11-beta-hydroxylase enzyme, the final step in cortisol synthesis. From https://www.thepharmaletter.com/in-brief/brief-metyrapone-effective-and-safe-in-endogenous-cushing-s-syndrome-in-long-term-says-hra-pharma-rare-diseases
    2 points
  14. WASHINGTON--Endogenous Cushing's syndrome, a rare hormonal disorder, is associated with a threefold increase in death, primarily due to cardiovascular disease and infection, according to a study whose results will be presented at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting. The research, according to the study authors, is the largest systematic review and meta-analysis to date of studies of endogenous (meaning "inside your body") Cushing's syndrome. Whereas Cushing's syndrome most often results from external factors--taking cortisol-like medications such as prednisone--the endogenous type occurs when the body overproduces the hormone cortisol, affecting multiple bodily systems. Accurate data on the mortality and specific causes of death in people with endogenous Cushing's syndrome are lacking, said the study's lead author, Padiporn Limumpornpetch, M.D., an endocrinologist from Prince of Songkla University, Thailand and Ph.D. student at the University of Leeds in Leeds, U.K. The study analyzed death data from more than 19,000 patients in 92 studies published through January 2021. "Our results found that death rates have fallen since 2000 but are still unacceptably high," Limumpornpetch said. Cushing's syndrome affects many parts of the body because cortisol responds to stress, maintains blood pressure and cardiovascular function, regulates blood sugar and keeps the immune system in check. The most common cause of endogenous Cushing's syndrome is a tumor of the pituitary gland called Cushing's disease, but another cause is a usually benign tumor of the adrenal glands called adrenal Cushing's syndrome. All patients in this study had noncancerous tumors, according to Limumpornpetch. Overall, the proportion of death from all study cohorts was 5 percent, the researchers reported. The standardized mortality ratio--the ratio of observed deaths in the study group to expected deaths in the general population matched by age and sex--was 3:1, indicating a threefold increase in deaths, she stated. This mortality ratio was reportedly higher in patients with adrenal Cushing's syndrome versus Cushing's disease and in patients who had active disease versus those in remission. The standardized mortality ratio also was worse in patients with Cushing's disease with larger tumors versus very small tumors (macroadenomas versus microadenomas). On the positive side, mortality rates were lower after 2000 versus before then, which Limumpornpetch attributed to advances in diagnosis, operative techniques and medico-surgical care. More than half of observed deaths were due to heart disease (24.7 percent), infections (14.4 percent), cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke or aneurysm (9.4 percent) or blood clots in a vein, known as thromboembolism (4.2 percent). "The causes of death highlight the need for aggressive management of cardiovascular risk, prevention of thromboembolism and good infection control and emphasize the need to achieve disease remission, normalizing cortisol levels," she said. Surgery is the mainstay of initial treatment of Cushing's syndrome. If an operation to remove the tumor fails to put the disease in remission, other treatments are available, such as medications. Study co-author Victoria Nyaga, Ph.D., of the Belgian Cancer Centre in Brussels, Belgium, developed the Metapreg statistical analysis program used in this study. ### Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions. The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at http://www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system. From https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/tes-lao031621.php
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  15. Context Late-night salivary cortisol (LNSC) measured by enzyme immunoassay (EIA-F) is a first-line screening test for Cushing’s syndrome (CS) with a reported sensitivity and specificity of >90%. However, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, validated to measure salivary cortisol (LCMS-F) and cortisone (LCMS-E), has been proposed to be superior diagnostically. Objective, Setting, and Main Outcome Measures Prospectively evaluate the diagnostic performance of EIA-F, LCMS-F, and LCMS-E in 1453 consecutive late-night saliva samples from 705 patients with suspected CS. Design Patients grouped by the presence or absence of at least one elevated salivary steroid result and then subdivided by diagnosis. Results We identified 283 patients with at least one elevated salivary result; 45 had an established diagnosis of neoplastic hypercortisolism (CS) for which EIA-F had a very high sensitivity (97.5%). LCMS-F and LCMS-E had lower sensitivity but higher specificity than EIA-F. EIA-F had poor sensitivity (31.3%) for ACTH-independent CS (5 patients with at least one and 11 without any elevated salivary result). In patients with Cushing’s disease (CD), most non-elevated LCMS-F results were in patients with persistent/recurrent CD; their EIA-F levels were lower than in patients with newly diagnosed CD. Conclusions Since the majority of patients with ≥1 elevated late-night salivary cortisol or cortisone result did not have CS, a single elevated level has poor specificity and positive predictive value. LNSC measured by EIA is a sensitive test for ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome but not for ACTH-independent CS. We suggest that neither LCMS-F nor LCMS-E improves the sensitivity of late-night EIA-F for CS. Cushing’s disease, ectopic ACTH, adrenal Cushing’s syndrome, diagnosis, assay performance Issue Section: Clinical Research Article From https://academic.oup.com/jes/advance-article/doi/10.1210/jendso/bvaa107/5876040
    2 points
  16. Presented by Georgios A. Zenonos, MD Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery Associate Director, Center for Skull Base Surgery University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh PA, 15217 Presbyterian Hospital, Suite B400 Register Now! After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. Date: Wednesday July 1, 2020 Time: 3:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 6:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
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  17. Unfortunately a 4:30 pm cortisol test can't be used to diagnose or exclude Cushing's. The only useful blood measurement for cortisol would be a midnight one. You really need to do a 24 hour urinary cortisol test.
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  18. Welcome, Ellie. I can't image how hard it would be to get a diagnosis (or not!) during these COVID times. Unfortunately, results from blood tests aren't going to be the answer - just a part of an answer. You need to get UFCs (urine free cortisol) Do you need to get a referral to an endo? They are the best to diagnose Cushing's - if you get one who is familar with testing. That's the important part. Not all endos "believe in Cushing's" which is incredible to me. Unfortunately, there's no real way of speeding a Cushing's diagnosis along. And, I don't think you'd want to (although I did when I was in the diagnosis phase!) You want to be absolutely sure that this is what you have AND the source - pituitary, adrenal, ectopic, steroid-induced... Best of luck to you and please keep us posted.
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  19. Dr. Friedman will discuss topics including: Who should get an adrenalectomy? How do you optimally replace adrenal hormones? What laboratory tests are needed to monitor replacement? When and how do you stress dose? What about subcut cortisol versus cortisol pumps? Patient Melissa will lead a Q and A Sunday • May 17 • 6 PM PST Click here on start your meeting or https://axisconciergemeetings.webex.com/axisconciergemeetings/j.php?MTID=mb896b9ec88bc4e1163cf4194c55b248f OR Join by phone: (855) 797-9485 Meeting Number (Access Code): 802 841 537 Your phone/computer will be muted on entry. Slides will be available on the day of the talk here There will be plenty of time for questions using the chat button. Meeting Password: addison
    2 points
  20. Hello Mary & dear Cushies!! I’ve just discovered this article two months ago and I was very pleased to speak directly to Dr. Gerardo Burton. He and his team developed a drug (21OH-6OP) which is a SPECIFIC antagonist for cortisol receptors, unlikely mifepristone which inhibits cortisol AND progesterone with so many undesired adverse effects. Unfortunately the pharmaceutical company didn’t choose this drug to start the clinical trials and so it is resting in Dr. Burton’s lab.... since 2007. The great humanity in Dr. Burton drop tears into my eyes when he told me that he would like that his whole work could help at least somebody to improve their quality of life. As a Cushing’s disease survivor ten years ago ... and now with a relapse of Cushing’s syndrome I keep wondering how is it possible that Dr. Burton’s work remains unknown, wasted, buried and in oblivion. For any of us either with Cushing’s Disease or Syndrome this drug is like the light at the end of the tunnel... I wish I could explain all this as clearly as I intended... and the reason why I post this topic is because I promised Dr. Burton I would try to help him to make his work known specially for all of us... and if somebody can help with a FDA contact and make this story known to them... that would be of so much help!!! Thank to all of you for reading this, my best wishes for all... stay safe this pandemic Regards from Querétaro, México Mayela https://www.intramed.net/contenidover.asp?contenidoid=48298
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  21. Hello Mary!! Thank you for replying!! It was a surprise for me having a relapse... I never knew or even heard it could happen... but last year I began to feel sooooo bad... and as I’ve had so many difficulties with the doctors I consulted the first time (I visited 40 doctors in ten years ... and only 3 of them understood my symptoms)... I decided to go to the laboratory by myself and asked them to perform the tests I thought I might have needed. And so I saw the cortisol beginning to increase ... but this January I presented a tachyarrhytmia sincope and although cardiologists intended to get me through a lot of heart testing I KNEW it was high cortisol levels again which led to this condition. And that is how it was... my cortisol was twice the normal levels... and again I went to an endocrinologist and she told me ... you have Cushing again... you can imagine it’s been the worst déjà-vu in my life. The etiology of my Cushing’s Disease the first time was very uncommon, as I thankfully never had any ACTH or cortisol secreting tumor, but I presented very high levels of cortisol (over ten times normal levels) and of ACTH, beyond high levels of other pituitary hormones: prolactine , TSH, FSH, LH ( a condition known as PANHYPERPITUITARISM) besides insulin, estrogens and so on... except for somatotropin (growth hormone), almost all of my hormones were in very high levels... and I was almost dying. Ten years and forty doctors later my neurosurgeon discovered in my latest MRI that besides I had a pituitary lesion that didn’t light up in the scan, my pituitary stalk and my hypothalamus (as well as the pituitary gland -presenting empty sella) were completely compressed by a suprasellar arachnoides cyst (meninges cyst), so that the hypothalamus hormones that regulated the pituitary hormones to stop over producing were stuck and never reached the pituitary... so it (pituitary gland) was continually producing all kind of hormones (except GH) without stopping. Finally in 2009 I had a neurosurgery resecting the meninges cyst, hoping that reliefing the pituitary stalk could lead hypothalamus hormones to reach the pituitary and regulate it to a normal hormone release... and so it happened!!! A month after neurosurgery my pituitary hormones levels were totally normal as well as my cortisol... and little by little the rest of almost my other health issues released... it took me over five years to have my liver in optimal conditions (Normal oxaloacetic and pyruvic transaminases) and to leave my diabetes medication at all controlling it only with a strict diet. So the last five years I’ve just struggled with hypertension , hypoglucemia and hypotiroidism (Primary subclicinal)... until last year ... I couldn’t understand what was happening to me... I couldn’t move my muscles.. extreme fatigue and great muscle pain... so I had my doubts and was checking upon suspicious high cortisol levels. This time as well as the first time I suppress cortisol with the dexametasona test... which indicates I do not over produce cortisol because of a tumor... so the etiology is again different from what’s common. And now my latest doctor has told me that my over production of cortisol is due to my previous Cushing’s disease and panhyperpituitarism and not because any possible ACTH or cortisol tumor. I decided to investigate what could help me to stop over producing cortisol and so I found Dr. Burton’s work. After founding out his investigation was still in the dark... well I decided to help him making his work known through your Forum... but I also needed help and so I continued researching and I found Isturisa (osilodrostat - LCI-699) which had just been approved in the EU this January. And so I spoke to the Director of Recordati Rare Diseases in México City and he told me that with my diagnosis and prescription they could send me the medication. As the annual treatment is about 55K euros, they are now helping me through IMSS (Mexican Institute of Social Security) so that the Mexican Federal Government can provide me the medication at no cost for the time I need it... it’s an administrative process but we’re starting it and we expect to have good results. And by far this is how my story goes... I know it was a long reply... but I think it is important for all of us to know this uncommon etiology of the Disease... because it took me over ten years and plenty of pain and suffering to get to the point of what was causing my over production of ACTH, cortisol and almost the whole of hormones in my body... and as my neurosurgeon told me... this etiology of Cushing’s Disease doesn’t even appear in medicine books .... So I hope my medical case can help anybody that unfortunately could be in this position to find quick answers from their doctors... and maybe teach them something as I did. Thank you very much for reading this... my best wishes... stay safe ... blessings!! Regards from Querétaro México MAYELA
    2 points
  22. Thank you so much, Mayela - I'll definitely check this out. We need all the help we can get and I'm glad that Dr. Burton is trying to help Cushing's patients. 13 years is a long time to withhold a potentially helpful drug. I'm so sorry you're having a relapse Are you planning another pituitary surgery, BLA or something else?
    2 points
  23. Cushing syndrome, a rare endocrine disorder caused by abnormally excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol, has a new pharmaceutical treatment to treat cortisol overproduction. Osilodrostat (Isturisa) is the first FDA approved drug who either can’t undergo pituitary gland surgery or have undergone the surgery but still have the disease. The oral tablet functions by blocking the enzyme responsible for cortisol synthesis, 11-beta-hydroxylase. “Until now, patients in need of medications…have had few approved options, either with limited efficacy or with too many adverse effects. With this demonstrated effective oral treatment, we have a therapeutic option that will help address patients' needs in this underserved patient population," said Maria Fleseriu, MD, FACE, professor of medicine and neurological surgery and director of the Pituitary Center at Oregon Health Sciences University. Cushing disease is caused by a pituitary tumor that releases too much of the hormone that stimulates cortisol production, adrenocorticotropin. This causes excessive levels of cortisol, a hormone responsible for helping to maintain blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, assist in memory formulation, and support fetus development during pregnancy. The condition is most common among adults aged 30-50 and affects women 3 times more than men. Cushing disease can lead to a number of medical issues including high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, blood clots in the arms and legs, bone loss and fractures, a weakened immune system, and depression. Patients with Cushing disease may also have thin arms and legs, a round red full face, increased fat around the neck, easy bruising, striae (purple stretch marks), or weak muscles. Side effects of osilodrostat occurring in more than 20% of patients are adrenal insufficiency, headache, nausea, fatigue, and edema. Other side effects can include vomiting, hypocortisolism (low cortisol levels), QTc prolongation (heart rhythm condition), elevations in adrenal hormone precursors (inactive substance converted into hormone), and androgens (hormone that regulated male characteristics). Osilodrostat’s safety and effectiveness was evaluated in a study consisting of 137 patients, of which about 75% were women. After a 24-week period, about half of patients had achieved normal cortisol levels; 71 successful cases then entered an 8-week, double-blind, randomized withdrawal study where 86% of patients receiving osilodrostat maintained normal cortisol levels, compared with 30% who were taking a placebo. In January 2020, the European Commission also granted marketing authorization for osilodrostat. From https://www.ajmc.com/newsroom/patients-with-cushing-have-new-nonsurgical-treatment-option
    2 points
  24. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Isturisa (osilodrostat) oral tablets for adults with Cushing's disease who either cannot undergo pituitary gland surgery or have undergone the surgery but still have the disease. Cushing's disease is a rare disease in which the adrenal glands make too much of the cortisol hormone. Isturisa is the first FDA-approved drug to directly address this cortisol overproduction by blocking the enzyme known as 11-beta-hydroxylase and preventing cortisol synthesis. "The FDA supports the development of safe and effective treatments for rare diseases, and this new therapy can help people with Cushing's disease, a rare condition where excessive cortisol production puts them at risk for other medical issues," said Mary Thanh Hai, M.D., acting director of the Office of Drug Evaluation II in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "By helping patients achieve normal cortisol levels, this medication is an important treatment option for adults with Cushing's disease." Cushing's disease is caused by a pituitary tumor that releases too much of a hormone called adrenocorticotropin, which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce an excessive amount of cortisol. The disease is most common among adults between the ages of 30 to 50, and it affects women three times more often than men. Cushing's disease can cause significant health issues, such as high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, blood clots in the legs and lungs, bone loss and fractures, a weakened immune system and depression. Patients may have thin arms and legs, a round red full face, increased fat around the neck, easy bruising, striae (purple stretch marks) and weak muscles. Isturisa's safety and effectiveness for treating Cushing's disease among adults was evaluated in a study of 137 adult patients (about three-quarters women) with a mean age of 41 years. The majority of patients either had undergone pituitary surgery that did not cure Cushing's disease or were not surgical candidates. In the 24-week, single-arm, open-label period, all patients received a starting dose of 2 milligrams (mg) of Isturisa twice a day that could be increased every two weeks up to 30 mg twice a day. At the end of this 24-week period, about half of patients had cortisol levels within normal limits. After this point, 71 patients who did not need further dose increases and tolerated the drug for the last 12 weeks entered an eight-week, double-blind, randomized withdrawal study where they either received Isturisa or a placebo (inactive treatment). At the end of this withdrawal period, 86% of patients receiving Isturisa maintained cortisol levels within normal limits compared to 30% of patients taking the placebo. The most common side effects reported in the clinical trial for Isturisa were adrenal insufficiency, headache, vomiting, nausea, fatigue and edema (swelling caused by fluid retention). Hypocortisolism (low cortisol levels), QTc prolongation (a heart rhythm condition) and elevations in adrenal hormone precursors (inactive substance converted into a hormone) and androgens (hormone that regulates male characteristics) may also occur in people taking Isturisa. Isturisa is taken by mouth twice a day, in the morning and evening as directed by a health care provider. After treatment has started, a provider may re-evaluate dosage, depending upon the patient's response. Isturisa received Orphan Drug Designation, which is a special status granted to a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition. The FDA granted the approval of Isturisa to Novartis. Media Contact: Monique Richards, 240-402-3014 Consumer Inquiries: Email, 888-INFO-FDA The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products. SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration Related Links http://www.fda.gov From https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fda-approves-new-treatment-for-adults-with-cushings-disease-301019293.html
    2 points
  25. MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated (NASDAQ: CORT) announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a Notice of Allowance for a patent covering the administration of Korlym® with food. The patent will expire in November 2032. “This patent covers an important finding of our research – that for optimal effect, Korlym must be taken with food,” said Joseph K. Belanoff, MD, Corcept’s Chief Executive Officer. “Korlym’s label instructs doctors that ‘Korlym must always be taken with a meal.’” Upon issuance, Corcept plans to list the patent, entitled “Optimizing Mifepristone Absorption” (U.S. Pat. App. 13/677,465), in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (the “Orange Book”). Korlym is currently protected by ten patents listed in the Orange Book. Hypercortisolism Hypercortisolism, often referred to as Cushing’s syndrome, is caused by excessive activity of the hormone cortisol. Endogenous Cushing’s syndrome is an orphan disease that most often affects adults aged 20-50. In the United States, an estimated 20,000 patients have Cushing’s syndrome, with about 3,000 new patients diagnosed each year. Symptoms vary, but most people with Cushing’s syndrome experience one or more of the following manifestations: high blood sugar, diabetes, high blood pressure, upper-body obesity, rounded face, increased fat around the neck, thinning arms and legs, severe fatigue and weak muscles. Irritability, anxiety, cognitive disturbances and depression are also common. Hypercortisolism can affect every organ system in the body and can be lethal if not treated effectively. About Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated Corcept is a commercial-stage company engaged in the discovery and development of drugs that treat severe metabolic, oncologic and psychiatric disorders by modulating the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Korlym® (mifepristone) was the first treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients with Cushing’s syndrome. Corcept has discovered a large portfolio of proprietary compounds, including relacorilant, exicorilant and miricorilant, that selectively modulate the effects of cortisol but not progesterone. Corcept owns extensive United States and foreign intellectual property covering the composition of its selective cortisol modulators and the use of cortisol modulators, including mifepristone, to treat a variety of serious disorders. Forward-Looking Statements Statements in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements, which are based on Corcept’s current plans and expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that might cause actual results to differ materially from those such statements express or imply. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, Corcept’s ability to generate sufficient revenue to fund its commercial operations and development programs; the availability of competing treatments, including generic versions of Korlym; Corcept’s ability to obtain acceptable prices or adequate insurance coverage and reimbursement for Korlym; and risks related to the development of Corcept’s product candidates, including regulatory approvals, mandates, oversight and other requirements. These and other risks are set forth in Corcept’s SEC filings, which are available at Corcept’s website and the SEC’s website. In this press release, forward-looking statements include those concerning Corcept’s plans to list the patent “Optimizing Mifepristone Absorption” in the Orange Book; Korlym’s current protection by ten patents listed in the Orange Book; and the scope and protective power of Corcept’s intellectual property. Corcept disclaims any intention or duty to update forward-looking statements made in this press release. CONTACT: Christopher S. James, MD Director, Investor Relations Corcept Therapeutics 650-684-8725 cjames@corcept.com www.corcept.com
    2 points
  26. It sure sounds like you're on the right track!
    2 points
  27. I received my dictation from Doctor F.. I pray that I am on the road to a diagnosis. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
    2 points
  28. Metoclopramide, a gastrointestinal medicine, can increase cortisol levels after unilateral adrenalectomy — the surgical removal of one adrenal gland — and conceal adrenal insufficiency in bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (BMAH) patients, a case report suggests. The study, “Retention of aberrant cortisol secretion in a patient with bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia after unilateral adrenalectomy,” was published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. BMAH is a subtype of adrenal Cushing’s syndrome, characterized by the formation of nodules and enlargement of both adrenal glands. In this condition, the production of cortisol does not depend on adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation, as usually is the case. Instead, cortisol production is triggered by a variety of stimuli, such as maintaining an upright posture, eating mixed meals — those that contain fats, proteins, and carbohydrates — or exposure to certain substances. A possible treatment for this condition is unilateral adrenalectomy. However, after the procedure, some patients cannot produce adequate amounts of cortisol. That makes it important for clinicians to closely monitor the changes in cortisol levels after surgery. Metoclopramide, a medicine that alleviates gastrointestinal symptoms and is often used during the postoperative period, has been reported to increase the cortisol levels of BMAH patients. However, the effects of metoclopramide on BMAH patients who underwent unilateral adrenalectomy are not clear. Researchers in Japan described the case of a 61-year-old postmenopausal woman whose levels of cortisol remained high after surgery due to metoclopramide ingestion. The patient was first examined because she had experienced high blood pressure, abnormal lipid levels in the blood, and osteoporosis for ten years. She also was pre-obese. She was given medication to control blood pressure with no results. The lab tests showed high serum cortisol and undetectable levels of ACTH, suggesting adrenal Cushing’s syndrome. Patients who have increased cortisol levels, but low levels of ACTH, often have poor communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the adrenal glands. These three glands — together known as the HPA axis — control the levels of cortisol in healthy people. Imaging of the adrenal glands revealed they were both enlarged and presented nodules. The patient’s cortisol levels peaked after taking metoclopramide, and her serum cortisol varied significantly during the day while ACTH remained undetectable. These results led to the BMAH diagnosis. The doctors performed unilateral adrenalectomy to control cortisol levels. The surgery was successful, and the doctors reduced the dose of glucocorticoid replacement therapy on day 6. Eight days after the surgery, however, the patient showed decreased levels of fasting serum cortisol, which indicated adrenal insufficiency — when the adrenal glands are unable to produce enough cortisol. The doctors noticed that metoclopramide was causing an increase in serum cortisol levels, which made them appear normal and masked the adrenal insufficiency. They stopped metoclopramide treatment and started replacement therapy (hydrocortisone) to control the adrenal insufficiency. The patient was discharged 10 days after the surgery. The serum cortisol levels were monitored on days 72 and 109 after surgery, and they remained lower than average. Therefore she could not stop hydrocortisone treatment. The levels of ACTH remained undetectable, suggesting that the communication between the HPA axis had not been restored. “Habitual use of metoclopramide might suppress the hypothalamus and pituitary via negative feedback due to cortisol excess, and lead to a delayed recovery of the HPA axis,” the researchers said. Meanwhile, the patient’s weight decreased, and high blood pressure was controlled. “Detailed surveillance of aberrant cortisol secretion responses on a challenge with exogenous stimuli […] is clinically important in BMAH patients,” the study concluded. “Caution is thus required for assessing the actual status of the HPA axis.” From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2019/05/07/metoclopramide-conceals-adrenal-insufficiency-after-gland-removal-bmah-patients-case-report/
    2 points
  29. This is such great news, Donna - the endo sounds fantastic. Can you please share his info with others so that they might have a faster diagnosis, too? Hopefully, surgery will be soon and on to remission!
    2 points
  30. I never had a hump but still had Cushing's. Unfortunately your symptoms (and most Cushing's symptoms) can also be caused by other medical conditions so it's important to test everything and if you're concerned about Cushing's I would do some cortisol testing if you haven't already. Have you done any 24 hour urinary free cortisol tests? or had your ACTH checked?
    2 points
  31. I really don't understand why they aren't removing the adrenal gland, then - is she doing testing with an endocrinologist, Bizzyusual? She would need to be diagnosed with Cushing's before they do anything with the adrenal tumor and that means testing, sometimes lots of it. I hope she sees that and gets started with endo appointments. Thanks for being good parents-in-law!
    1 point
  32. Posted because it's interesting for a few reasons, especially the fact that this apparent adrenal Cushing's (bilateral micronodular hyperplasia) did not present with suppressed ACTH. Those values ranged from 8.9 to 38 pg/mL throughout the day, and yet this was not a mild case biochemically. The investigators--who I should point out are the leading experts on this particular subtype of Cushing's--seemed baffled by the discordant results for locating the source. Furthermore, this novel mutation has a different proposed mechanism of action than previously-identified mutations. Finally, the rather young pediatric patient has been successfully treated with low-dose ketoconazole for five years.
    1 point
  33. Those who wish to gain practical tools for living optimally with rare diseases are encouraged to attend the annual Living Rare Living Stronger Patient and Family Forum, hosted by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and set this year for June 26-27. The conference brings together patients, families, healthcare professionals, and other supporters for learning, sharing, and connecting. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the general sessions, breakout workshops, and networking will again be virtual. The sessions, which will offer perspectives from patients, caregivers, and the medical community, will air live and be recorded for later viewing. Throughout the forum, participants will be able to visit the exhibit hall and have peer meetings with other attendees. Also this year, the Rare Impact Awards will return as part of the program. That presentation, on June 28, honors individuals, organizations, and industry innovators for exceptional work benefitting the rare disease community. “The health and well-being of people living with rare diseases, their loved ones and those working to improve their lives continues to remain a top priority for all of us here at NORD,” the organization stated in its forum announcement. “The COVID-19 pandemic brought us new ways to engage with our community and our 2020 virtual program was the most successful forum to date! In 2021 we will continue to work hard to keep our community healthy and safe while engaging in this impactful program,” NORD said. Registration for the “patient-centric” event is $39 for patients, caregivers, students, and NORD patient organization representatives. The cost is $75 for professional advocates, people from academia, physicians, and government representatives, and $500 for NORD corporate council members. For pharmaceutical, insurance, or other representatives, registration is $650. As for the agenda, the opening discussion will be on “The Patient-Professional Partnership” and will include three stories on the close bond between patients and their care professionals. Breakout sessions for Saturday, June 26 will include “Coping with Grief and Anticipatory Grief,” “Shared Decision-Making with Your Care Team,” and “Working While Rare” as first offerings, followed by “Getting Involved in Clinical Research: Finding and Preparing for Clinical Trials,” “Navigating Insurance, Social Security Disability and Patient Assistance Programs,” and “The ABCs of Advocating for Your Child’s Education” in the second group of workshops. Those will be followed by a plenary discussion on the topic “Building Resilience in a Time of Unknowns.” The speakers will explore how patients coped while waiting for a diagnosis, how they are faring while waiting for new treatments, and how they have kept it together during the pandemic. June 27 will start with an opening plenary discussion titled “The Rare Sibling Experience.” Here, three siblings of rare disease patients will share their experiences, including how they became advocates. Breakout sessions on this day will include “Fighting Back and Fighting Forward Through Advocacy,” “Palliative Care: Debunking the Myths,” “Rare in the Family: Navigating the Roles of Patient, Parent, and Caregiver” in the first set of discussion groups. Later offerings that Sunday will include “Aging with a Rare Condition,” “Finding Your Community and Building Your Support Network,” and “The Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity with Diagnosis and Treatment Access.” The closing plenary discussion, titled “Rare Breakthroughs Now and on the Horizon,” will cover the latest advances in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of rare diseases. Early this year, NORD put out a call out for individuals who were willing to share their real-life experiences with rare diseases at the conference. In all, including physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, the conference will feature some 55 speakers. Access to the virtual program will be provided via email the week of the event.
    1 point
  34. Eleni Papakokkinou, Marta Piasecka, Hanne Krage Carlsen, Dimitrios Chantzichristos, Daniel S. Olsson, Per Dahlqvist, Maria Petersson, Katarina Berinder, Sophie Bensing, Charlotte Höybye, Britt Edén Engström, Pia Burman, Cecilia Follin, David Petranek, Eva Marie Erfurth, Jeanette Wahlberg, Bertil Ekman, Anna-Karin Åkerman, Erik Schwarcz, Gudmundur Johannsson, Henrik Falhammar & Oskar Ragnarsson Abstract Purpose Bilateral adrenalectomy (BA) still plays an important role in the management of Cushing's disease (CD). Nelson’s syndrome (NS) is a severe complication of BA, but conflicting data on its prevalence and predicting factors have been reported. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of NS, and identify factors associated with its development. Data sources Systematic literature search in four databases. Study Selection Observational studies reporting the prevalence of NS after BA in adult patients with CD. Data extraction Data extraction and risk of bias assessment were performed by three independent investigators. Data synthesis Thirty-six studies, with a total of 1316 CD patients treated with BA, were included for the primary outcome. Pooled prevalence of NS was 26% (95% CI 22–31%), with moderate to high heterogeneity (I2 67%, P < 0.01). The time from BA to NS varied from 2 months to 39 years. The prevalence of NS in the most recently published studies, where magnet resonance imaging was used, was 38% (95% CI 27–50%). The prevalence of treatment for NS was 21% (95% CI 18–26%). Relative risk for NS was not significantly affected by prior pituitary radiotherapy [0.9 (95% CI 0.5–1.6)] or pituitary surgery [0.6 (95% CI 0.4–1.0)]. Conclusions Every fourth patient with CD treated with BA develops NS, and every fifth patient requires pituitary-specific treatment. The risk of NS may persist for up to four decades after BA. Life-long follow-up is essential for early detection and adequate treatment of NS. Introduction Cushing´s disease (CD) is a rare disorder associated with excess morbidity and increased mortality [1, 2]. Previously, bilateral adrenalectomy (BA) was the mainstay treatment for CD. During the last decades, however, other treatment modalities have emerged, including pituitary surgery, radiotherapy and medical treatments. Despite this, BA is still considered when other treatment options have failed to achieve remission, or when a rapid relief of hypercortisolism is necessary [3]. BA is considered to be a safe and effective treatment for CD [4], especially after the laparoscopic approach was introduced during the 1990s [5]. There are, however, significant drawbacks with BA, mainly the unavoidable chronic adrenal insufficiency, as well as the risk for Nelson’s syndrome (NS), i.e., growth of the remaining pituitary tumor and excessive production of ACTH, that may cause optic nerve or chiasmal compression and mucocutaneous hyperpigmentation [6]. The prevalence of NS varies between studies, mainly due to a lack of consensus on the definition and diagnostic criteria for the syndrome [7, 8]. Previously published studies are also inconsistent as to whether factors such as previous radiotherapy, age at BA, gender and duration of CD, may affect the risk of developing NS. Furthermore, high ACTH concentrations after BA have been suggested as a risk factor for developing NS [9,10,11,12]. Thus, the primary aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to estimate the prevalence of NS after BA for CD, both the total prevalence of NS as well the prevalence of NS requiring treatment with pituitary surgery and/or radiotherapy. The secondary aim was to investigate risk factors associated with development of NS. Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) [13]. The PICO process was applied for the definition of the research question and eligibility criteria for the literature search. The protocol of this review was registered in the PROSPERO database (CRD42020163918). Search strategy We searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library and Web of Science on February 25th 2020, with no start date restriction, for relevant articles by using the following terms: “Cushing´s syndrome” or “Cushing´s disease” or “Hypercortisolism” or “Pituitary ACTH hypersecretion” or “corticotroph tumor” or “corticotroph tumors” or “corticotroph adenoma” or “corticotroph adenomas” or “corticotropinoma” or “corticotropinomas” or “corticotrophinoma” or “corticotrophinomas” or “ACTH pituitary adenoma” or “ACTH pituitary adenomas” or “adrenocorticotropin pituitary adenoma” or “adrenocorticotropin pituitary adenomas” AND “bilateral adrenalectomy” or “bilateral adrenalectomies” or “total adrenalectomy” or “total adrenalectomies”. A detailed description of the search strategy is given in the Supplementary. Also, references of the included studies and relevant review articles were checked manually for additional articles. A new search was performed on January 12th 2021, prior submission, to identify any new publications. Study selection and eligibility criteria Eligible studies were observational studies (cohort or cross-sectional studies) reporting the prevalence of NS in adult patients with CD treated with BA. Studies including only children (age < 18 years), review articles, letters, commentaries and meeting abstracts were excluded. Moreover, case reports, case-series and studies with a population of fewer than 10 cases were excluded. Also, studies written in languages other than English were not considered for inclusion. Data collection process and data extraction Titles and abstracts from all identified articles were screened for eligibility and further full-text assessment by three independent investigators (EP, MP, OR). Discrepancies were resolved through discussion and consensus. Duplicate articles and studies with overlapping populations were excluded. In the latter case, the publication with the largest population, more comprehensive information on relevant clinical variables and/or lowest risk of bias was included. Full-text assessment and data extraction were conducted independently by the same investigators as above. Data on the following predefined variables were extracted: first author, year of publication, region/hospital, study period, characteristics of the study population (number of patients, gender, follow-up, age at CD, age at BA, previous treatment with radiotherapy and/or pituitary surgery, ACTH concentrations at BA, MRI findings at CD and at BA), intervention (BA as primary or secondary treatment, remission status) and outcome (criteria for NS, number of patients with NS, age at NS, time from BA to NS, ACTH concentrations one year after BA, number of patients treated for NS, type of treatment; pituitary radiotherapy and/or pituitary surgery). One of the studies included in the meta-analysis is our nationwide Swedish study on CD [2]. Additional clinical data, not provided in the original publication, was retrieved and used in the current analysis (Table 1). Table 1 Characteristics of the included studies Full size table Risk of bias assessment The Newcastle–Ottawa Scale [14], modified to suit the current study, was used for assessment of risk of bias of all included studies. Three investigators (EP, MP, OR) assessed the studies independently, and any disagreements were resolved by discussion. Selection, comparability and outcome were assessed through predefined criteria. All studies that provided information on NS as outcome, and/or corticotroph tumor progression, were included, and the definition as well as the treatment of NS were recorded (Table 1 and Table S1). A clear definition of NS and information on treatment were considered to be two of the most important components of the quality assessment. We considered the definition of NS to be clear when it included either a new visible pituitary tumor or progression of a pituitary tumor remnant following BA, alone, or in combination with high ACTH concentrations and/or hyperpigmentation. Detailed description of the criteria for the risk of bias assessment is provided in the Supplementary file. Studies with an overall score ≥ 5 (max overall grade 😎 and a clear definition of NS, were considered to have a low risk of bias. Data synthesis and statistical analysis Primary endpoints were the prevalence of NS, as well as the prevalence of pituitary-specific treatment for NS. Descriptive data are presented as median (range or interquartile range; IQR). Meta-analysis was performed by using the meta package in R (version 4.0.3) [15]. Statistical pooling was performed according to random-effects model due to the clinical heterogeneity among the included studies [16]. For all analyses, indices of heterogeneity, I2 statistics and Cochrane’s Q test, are reported. For the primary outcomes we estimated pooled prevalence with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Statistical significance was defined as P < 0.05. The possibility of publication bias was assessed by visual inspection of funnel plots as well as with the Egger’s test [17]. Sensitivity analyses were performed by excluding studies with an overall risk of bias < 5, and studies where information on diagnostic criteria for NS was lacking. By choosing the overall risk of bias < 5, all studies without adequate follow-up were also excluded (Table S2). Also, another sensitivity analysis was performed by including all studies reporting the number of patients with NS who received treatment for NS (Table 1). Subgroup analyses were performed to investigate factors that may affect the prevalence of NS, namely pituitary radiotherapy prior to BA, prophylactic pituitary radiotherapy, overall radiotherapy (prior to BA or prophylactic), pituitary surgery (transcranial or transsphenoidal surgery) prior to BA, and BA as primary or secondary treatment. For these outcomes, we estimated relative risks (RRs), or pooled prevalence, with 95% CIs. Also, in a subgroup analysis, the prevalence (with 95% CI) of NS and treatment for NS were estimated in studies where MRI was used at diagnosis and during follow-up. Uni- and bivariate meta-regression was used to investigate whether the prevalence of NS was influenced by median follow-up time or age at BA. The meta-analysis was performed by using the Metareg command in R. The estimated association is reported as β coefficient. Role of funding source The funding source had no role in the design and conduction of the study; i.e., collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Results Identification and description of included studies After removal of duplicates, 1702 articles were identified (Fig. 1). Three additional articles were found after checking the reference lists of identified articles and review papers. After reviewing titles, abstracts and full-text articles, 48 articles were considered eligible for further analysis. Of these, however, 11 articles were excluded due to overlapping or identical patient cohorts. Thus, 37 studies published between 1976 and 2020, were included in the current meta-analysis (Fig. 1). All studies had a retrospective observational design. Characteristics of the included studies are presented in Table 1. Two of the included studies had an overlapping cohort where one was used for the main outcome [18] and one [19] for the subgroup analyses on the influence of radiotherapy on the development of NS. An overview of risk of bias assessment of the eligible studies is provided in Table S2. Fig. 1 Flowchart of study selection Full size image In total, 1316 patients with CD treated with BA were included. The median follow-up after BA was 7 years (23 studies, range 3.3–22). Median age at BA in patients with NS was 31 years (13 studies, IQR 26–34). Median time from BA to the diagnosis of NS was 4 years (19 studies) with the shortest reported time being 2 months [20] and the longest 39 years [2]. At diagnosis of NS, hyperpigmentation was reported in 155 of 188 (82%) patients (19 studies) and chiasmal compression in 24 of 129 (19%) patients [11 studies]. Prevalence of NS Thirty-six of 37 studies, with total 1316 patients with CD treated with BA, were included [2, 18, 20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53]. Reported prevalence of NS ranged from 4 to 60%. The mean pooled prevalence was 26% (95% CI 22–31%) with a moderate to high heterogeneity (I2 67%, P < 0.01) (Fig. 2). The Egger’s test was statistically significant (P = 0.01), but visual inspection showed no obvious asymmetry. The significant Egger’s test indicates publication bias, probably explained by the fact that case reports and cohorts with fewer than 10 participants were excluded (Fig. S1). Fig. 2 Forest plot showing individual studies and pooled prevalence of Nelson’s syndrome after bilateral adrenalectomy in patients with Cushing’s disease. *Additional data Full size image In a sensitivity analysis, excluding all studies with high risk of bias (overall score < 5) and no clear definition of NS, the pooled prevalence was 31% (95% CI 24–38%; I2 76%, 17 studies, 822 patients; P < 0.01) (Fig. S2). In a subgroup analysis, the prevalence of NS in studies where MRI was used at diagnosis and during follow-up was 38% (Fig. 3; 95% CI 27–50%; I2 71%, 7 studies, 280 patients; P < 0.01). Fig. 3 Forest plot showing individual studies using magnetic resonance imaging and pooled prevalence of Nelson’s syndrome after bilateral adrenalectomy in patients with Cushing’s disease Full size image Prevalence of treated NS The pooled prevalence of treatment for NS was 21% (95% CI 18–26%; I2 52%, P < 0.01) (Table 1; 29 studies with 1074 patients). Thus, the pooled prevalence was slightly lower, compared to the pooled prevalence of NS in total, as well as the heterogeneity (Fig. S3). The funnel plot showed no asymmetry and Egger’s test was not statistically significant, indicating low possibility of publication bias (Fig. S4). In a subgroup analysis, the prevalence of treated NS in studies where MRI was used at diagnosis and during follow-up was 25% (95% CI 17–35%; I2 61%, 7 studies; P = 0.02). The indication for treatment was progression of the pituitary tumor in 23 out of 28 patients (82%, five studies), optic chiasmal compression in 11 out of 91 patients (12%, 11 studies), while four patients out of 14 (one study) had both these indications for treatment. Twenty-six studies provided information on treatment modalities (pituitary surgery and/or radiotherapy). Seventy-three out of 201 patients with NS (36%) were treated with pituitary surgery, 86 (43%) with radiotherapy and 41 (20%) received both treatments. Radiotherapy Nineteen studies provided information on radiotherapy prior to BA. However, nine studies had no events and no patients in one of the arms (radiotherapy or no radiotherapy) (Table S3). Thus, ten studies were eligible for further estimation, showing that the risk for NS in patients treated with radiotherapy prior to BA was comparable to the risk in patients not treated with radiotherapy (RR 0.9, 95% CI 0.5–1.6; 10 studies with 564 patients) (Fig. 4). Fig. 4 Forest plot showing the RR (relative risk) and 95% CI for Nelson’s syndrome in patients treated with radiotherapy prior to bilateral adrenalectomy versus no radiotherapy. RR could not be calculated when there were no cases in the RTX or no RTX arms, and when no events in either arm. *Additional data. RTX, radiotherapy prior to bilateral adrenalectomy or prophylactic radiotherapy Full size image Thirteen studies provided information on prophylactic radiotherapy. However, only one study provided applicable data for calculating RR, thus subgroup analysis was not performed (Table S4). In that study [20], none of the seventeen patients who received prophylactic radiotherapy developed NS, while 11 of 22 patients without radiotherapy developed NS after a mean follow-up of 4.4 years (range 10–16 years). By using studies with information on either previous or prophylactic radiotherapy (11 studies with 603 patients; Table S5), the pooled RR was 0.8 (95% CI 0.5–1.5). Pituitary surgery prior to BA Of 21 studies with information on pituitary surgery prior to BA (Table S6), only ten provided information for estimation of RR. A pooled RR of 0.6 (10 studies with 430 patients; 95% CI 0.4–1.0) was found (Fig. 5), indicating that the risk for developing NS was not influenced by previous pituitary surgery. Fig. 5 Forest plot showing the RR (relative risk) and 95% CI for Nelson’s syndrome in patients treated with pituitary surgery prior to bilateral adrenalectomy versus no pituitary surgery. RR could not be calculated when there were no cases in the surgery or no surgery arms, and when no events in either arm. *additional data. Abbreviations: Surgery, pituitary surgery prior to bilateral adrenalectomy Full size image BA as primary or secondary treatment for CD Information on whether patients with NS were treated primarily with BA or not, was provided in ten and nine studies, respectively (Fig. S5 and S6). The pooled prevalence of NS was 26% (95% CI 20–33%) for patients treated primarily with BA and 22% (95% CI 15–31%) for patients who had been treated with pituitary surgery and/or radiotherapy prior to BA. ACTH concentrations one year after BA Four studies provided information on ACTH concentrations during the first year after BA [45, 49, 52, 53]. In a study by Assié et al. the median ACTH concentration in patients who developed NS was 301 pmol/L, compared to 79 pmol/L in patients without NS (upper range of limit; URL 13 pmol/L) [52]. The median ACTH concentration in a study by Cohen et al. was 105 pmol/L in the NS group compared to 18 pmol/L in patients without NS (P = 0.007) (URL 10 pmol/L) [49]. Also, in a study by Das et al., there was a statistically significant difference in ACTH concentrations one year after BA between patients with and without NS (110 vs 21 pmol/L respectively; P = 0.002) [53]. On the contrary, Espinosa-de-Los-Monteros et al.found no difference in ACTH concentrations between the patients with NS and those without NS [45]. Thus, three of four studies found that high ACTH concentrations one year after BA were associated with the development of NS. However, since the ACTH assays and the conditions when ACTH was collected were different in these studies (Table S7), further comparison or a meta-analysis on ACTH levels after BA was not considered feasible. Influence of age at BA and duration of follow-up on prevalence of NS In a meta-regression analysis, age at BA (β-coefficient = – 0.03, P = 0.4; Fig. 6) and median duration of follow-up (β-coefficient = 0.01, P = 0.7; Fig. S7) were not associated with prevalence of NS. After adjustment for follow-up, age at BA was still not associated with prevalence of NS (β-coefficient = -0.03, P = 0.4). Fig. 6 Bubble plot showing the influence of age at BA on the prevalence of Nelson’s syndrome. The bubble sizes are proportional to the weight of the studies in the meta-analysis. Coefficient estimate (β) and p value for the effect of age at BA are indicated by the regression line Full size image Discussion In this study we have for the first time evaluated the pooled prevalence of NS by using a meta-analysis on data from 36 studies, including more than 1300 patients with CD treated with BA. The overall prevalence of NS was 26% and the median time from BA to diagnosis of NS was 4 years, ranging from 0.2 to 39 years. The prevalence of patients requiring pituitary-specific treatment for NS was 21%. Furthermore, radiotherapy and pituitary surgery prior to BA, as well as age at BA, did not seem to affect the risk of developing NS. Various definitions have been used for NS over the past decades [12]. Historically, the diagnosis was based on clinical findings related to mucocutaneous hyperpigmentation and chiasmal compression, together with signs of an enlarged sella turcica on skull radiography [6]. Since then, the diagnosis of NS in most studies has been based on (i) radiological evidence of a pituitary tumor that becomes visible, or a progression of a preexisting tumor, (ii) “high” ACTH concentrations, and (iii) hyperpigmentation [54]. In the studies with the highest prevalence of NS [45, 46], the diagnosis was based on rising ACTH concentrations and an expanding pituitary mass, where 2 mm increment in tumor size on MRI was considered to be a significant growth. On the contrary, the criteria for NS in studies with the lowest prevalence were based on hyperpigmentation, often but not always combined with a pituitary tumor responding to radiotherapy and/or a radiographic evidence of pituitary tumor on skull radiography [21, 23]. Thus, the great variance in the prevalence of NS between studies can, at least partly, be explained by the different definitions of NS. Consequently, in an expert opinion published in 2010, it was suggested that the diagnosis of NS should be based on an elevated level of ACTH >500 ng/L (110 pmol/L) in addition to rising levels of ACTH on at least three consecutive occasions and/or an expanding pituitary mass on MRI or CT following BA [54]. Similarly, in a recently published expert consensus recommendation, based on a systematic review, it was suggested that NS should be defined as radiological progression or new detection of a pituitary tumor on a thin-section MRI [55]. Furthermore, the authors recommend active surveillance with MRI three months after BA, and every 12 months for the first 3 years, and every 2–4 years thereafter, based on clinical findings. The meta-regression of the current analysis did not show an association between median follow-up time and prevalence of NS. Nevertheless, NS occurred as early as 2 months [20], and up to 39 years after BA [2], supporting that life-long surveillance after BA is necessary for patients with CD. Active surveillance with MRI was more common in studies published during the last two decades. In fact, the use of MRI in recent studies resulted in earlier detection of a growing pituitary adenoma and, subsequently, contributed to a higher prevalence of NS. Namely, the seven studies including patients treated with BA after 1990 and using MRI reported higher prevalence of NS, both overall NS and treated NS. Whether factors such as pituitary radiotherapy affects the risk for development of NS has been evaluated in several studies. Some studies have shown that radiotherapy prior to BA, or administrated prophylactically, can prevent or delay the development of NS [20, 39]. On the contrary, other studies have not demonstrated a protective effect of radiotherapy prior to BA [18, 37] and, moreover, one study found an association with tumor progression [46]. Nevertheless, the current meta-analysis indicates that radiotherapy prior to BA does not decrease the risk of developing NS. Neither did previous pituitary surgery affect the risk for NS. Elevated ACTH concentrations during the first year after BA have been considered to be a strong predictor of NS [49, 52]. In fact, seven studies in the current analysis included cut-off levels for ACTH concentration, arbitrarily defined, for the diagnosis of NS [18, 25, 34, 36, 41, 45, 49]. Due to the different ACTH assays, and different conditions when ACTH was collected, no further analysis on ACTH levels was performed. Nevertheless, four studies [45, 49, 52, 53] reported ACTH concentrations one year after BA in both patients with and without NS. Three of these studies found that high ACTH concentrations one year after BA [49, 52, 53] were associated with pituitary tumor progression. Thus, these findings support the suggestion that ACTH should be monitored following BA in patients with CD [54, 55]. The prevalence of treatment for NS (21%), and the heterogeneity index (52%), were slightly lower than in the analysis of total prevalence of NS (26%, I2 67%). The majority of the patients was treated with radiotherapy, followed by pituitary surgery and combination of pituitary surgery and radiotherapy. Today, surgical removal of the pituitary tumor is considered to be the first-line therapy of NS whereas radiotherapy is considered if surgery has failed or is not possible [12, 54, 56]. In a large multi-center study by Fountas et al., the 10-year progression-free survival rates after surgery alone, or with radiotherapy, for patients with NS was 80% and 81%, respectively [57]. In comparison, progression-free survival rate in patients who did not receive treatment was 51%. Reports on the efficacy of medical therapy for NS have shown inconsistent results [56]. Strengths and limitations This is the largest systematic review, and the first meta-analysis, on NS published to date. However, some limitations have to be acknowledged. Most important are the different diagnostic methods used to detect NS, and the different definitions of the syndrome between the studies. The majority of the studies have used the combination of hyperpigmentation, high ACTH concentrations and radiological findings for the diagnosis of NS. Notwithstanding these common criteria, there were still differences in the cut-offs of ACTH levels, the use of different radiological modalities over time as well as the radiological definition of progress of pituitary tumors. Moreover, in some studies radiological findings were used solely or in combination with either hyperpigmentation and/or bitemporal hemianopsia, ACTH concentrations or response to treatment of NS. Furthermore, in several studies a clear definition of NS was not provided. Nevertheless, we consider our attempt to address the heterogeneity of the included studies, through systematic review, quality assessment, and sensitivity and subgroup analyses to be a strength. Conclusions The risk of NS after BA in patients with CD is considerable and may first become clinically evident many decades later. Thus, life-long close follow-up is necessary for an early detection of a growing pituitary tumor, and adequate treatment when needed. Although this meta-analysis did not find prior surgery or radiotherapy to be associated with risk of NS, the findings are based on a limited number of studies. 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Fountas A, Lim ES, Drake WM, Powlson AS, Gurnell M, Martin NM, Seejore K, Murray RD, MacFarlane J, Ahluwalia R, Swords F, Ashraf M, Pal A, Chong Z, Freel M, Balafshan T, Purewal TS, Speak RG, Newell-Price J, Higham CE, Hussein Z, Baldeweg SE, Dales J, Reddy N, Levy MJ, Karavitaki N (2020) Outcomes of patients with Nelson's syndrome after primary treatment: a multicenter study from 13 UK pituitary centers. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 105(5):1527–1537 Download references Acknowledgements We would like to thank Therese Svanberg, librarian at the Medical Library at Sahlgrenska University Hospital for her expert assistance with the literature search. Funding Open access funding provided by University of Gothenburg. The study was financed by grants from the Swedish state under the agreement between the Swedish government and the county councils, the ALF-agreement (ALFGBG-593301) and a grant from the Gothenburg Society of Medicine. Author information Affiliations Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Institute of Medicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, 413 45, Gothenburg, Sweden Eleni Papakokkinou, Marta Piasecka, Dimitrios Chantzichristos, Daniel S. Olsson, Gudmundur Johannsson & Oskar Ragnarsson The Department of Endocrinology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Blå stråket 5, 413 45, Gothenburg, Sweden Eleni Papakokkinou, Marta Piasecka, Dimitrios Chantzichristos, Daniel S. Olsson, Gudmundur Johannsson & Oskar Ragnarsson Department of Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, 4053, Gothenburg, Sweden Hanne Krage Carlsen Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, 901 87, Umeå, Sweden Per Dahlqvist Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, 17176, Stockholm, Sweden Maria Petersson, Katarina Berinder, Sophie Bensing, Charlotte Höybye & Henrik Falhammar Department of Endocrinology, Karolinska University Hospital, 171 76, Stockholm, Sweden Maria Petersson, Katarina Berinder, Sophie Bensing, Charlotte Höybye & Henrik Falhammar Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Uppsala University Hospital, and Department of Medical Sciences, Endocrinology and Mineral Metabolism, Uppsala University, 751 85, Uppsala, Sweden Britt Edén Engström Department of Endocrinology, Skåne University Hospital, University of Lund, 205 02, Malmö, Sweden Pia Burman Department of Endocrinology, Skåne University Hospital, 222 42, Lund, Sweden Cecilia Follin, David Petranek & Eva Marie Erfurth Department of Endocrinology and Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, 581 83, Linköping, Sweden Jeanette Wahlberg & Bertil Ekman Department of Internal Medicine, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, 702 81, Örebro, SE, Sweden Jeanette Wahlberg, Anna-Karin Åkerman & Erik Schwarcz Corresponding author Correspondence to Oskar Ragnarsson. Ethics declarations Conflict of interest The authors have nothing to disclose. Additional information Publisher's Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Supplementary Information Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material. Supplementary file1 (DOCX 1208 kb) Rights and permissions Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Reprints and Permissions About this article Cite this article Papakokkinou, E., Piasecka, M., Carlsen, H.K. et al. Prevalence of Nelson’s syndrome after bilateral adrenalectomy in patients with cushing’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pituitary (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11102-021-01158-z Download citation Accepted18 May 2021 Published25 May 2021 DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s11102-021-01158-z Share this article Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content: Get shareable link Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative Keywords Bilateral adrenalectomy Cushing’s disease Corticotroph adenoma Nelson’s syndrome From https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11102-021-01158-z
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  35. High blood sugar or glucose, also called hyperglycemia, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. High blood sugar is the primary symptom that underlies diabetes, but it can also occur in people who don’t have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, either because of stress or trauma, or gradually as a result of certain chronic conditions. It is important to manage high blood sugar, even if you don’t have diabetes, because elevated blood glucose can delay your ability to heal, increase your risk of infections, and cause irreversible damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs, such as your eyes and kidneys. Blood vessel damage from high blood sugar also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Non-Diabetic Hyperglycemia and Prediabetes You are considered to have impaired glucose tolerance or prediabetes if you have a fasting glucose level between 100–125 mg/dL, and hyperglycemia if your fasting blood glucose level is greater than 125 mg/dL, or greater than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating. The body obtains glucose mainly through carbohydrate consumption, but also through the breakdown of glycogen to glucose—a process called glycogenolysis—or conversion of non-carbohydrate sources to glucose—called gluconeogenesis—that primarily occurs in the liver. While 50% to 80% of glucose is used by the brain, kidneys, and red blood cells for energy, the remaining supply of glucose is used to produce energy. It is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles, and can be tapped into at a later time for energy or converted into fat tissue. In healthy people, blood glucose levels are regulated by the hormone insulin to stay at a steady level of 80–100 mg/dL. Insulin maintains steady blood sugar by increasing the uptake and storage of glucose and decreasing inflammatory proteins that raise blood sugar when there is an excess of glucose in the blood. Certain conditions can increase your blood glucose levels by impairing the ability of insulin to transport glucose out of the bloodstream. When this occurs, you develop hyperglycemia, which puts you at an increased risk of prediabetes, diabetes, and related complications. Common Causes Cushing’s Syndrome Cushing’s syndrome results from excess secretion of the adrenocorticotropic hormone, a hormone produced in the anterior portion of the pituitary gland that causes excess cortisol to be produced and released from the adrenal glands. Pituitary adenomas, or tumors of the pituitary gland, are the cause of Cushing’s syndrome in more than 70% of cases, while prolonged use of corticosteroid medication can also significantly increase the risk. People with Cushing’s syndrome are at an increased risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance and hyperglycemia as a result of increased levels of cortisol throughout the body. Cortisol is a hormone that counteracts the effects of insulin by blocking the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream, thereby increasing insulin resistance and maintaining high blood sugar levels. Elevated cortisol levels also partially decrease the release of insulin from where it is produced in the pancreas. Approximately 10% to 30% of people with Cushing’s syndrome will develop impaired glucose tolerance, while 40% to 45% will develop diabetes. Corticosteroid medication is often prescribed to decrease inflammation throughout the body, but can lead to the development of Cushing’s syndrome and hyperglycemia because it activates specific enzymes that increase the conversion of non-carbohydrate molecules into glucose (gluconeogenesis). Corticosteroids also disrupt pancreatic cell function by inhibiting cell signaling pathways involved in the release of insulin from the pancreas. Read other causes at https://www.verywellhealth.com/causes-blood-sugar-rise-in-non-diabetics-5120349
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  36. Excess mortality among people with endogenous Cushing syndrome (CS) has declined in the past 20 years yet remains three times higher than in the general population, new research finds. Among more than 90,000 individuals with endogenous CS, the overall proportion of mortality ― defined as the ratio of the number of deaths from CS divided by the total number of CS patients ― was 0.05, and the standardized mortality rate was an "unacceptable" three times that of the general population, Padiporn Limumpornpetch, MD, reported on March 20 at ENDO 2021: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting. Excess deaths were higher among those with adrenal CS compared to those with Cushing disease. The most common causes of death among those with CS were cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular accident, infection, and malignancy, noted Limumpornpetch, of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Thailand, who is also a PhD student at the University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom. "While mortality has improved since 2000, it is still significantly compromised compared to the background population.... The causes of death highlight the need for aggressive management of cardiovascular risk, prevention of thromboembolism, infection control, and a normalized cortisol level," she said. Asked to comment, Maria Fleseriu, MD, told Medscape Medical News that the new data show "we are making improvements in the care of patients with CS and thus outcomes, but we are not there yet.... This meta-analysis highlights the whole spectrum of acute and life-threatening complications in CS and their high prevalence, even before disease diagnosis and after successful surgery." She noted that although she wasn't surprised by the overall results, "the improvement over time was indeed lower than I expected. However, interestingly here, the risk of mortality in adrenal Cushing was unexpectedly high despite patients with adrenal cancer being excluded." Fleseriu, who is director of the Pituitary Center at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, advised, "Management of hyperglycemia and diabetes, hypertension, hypokalemia, hyperlipidemia, and other cardiovascular risk factors is generally undertaken in accordance with standard of clinical care. "But we should focus more on optimizing more aggressively this care in addition to the specific Cushing treatment," she stressed. In addition, she noted, "Medical therapy for CS may be needed even prior to surgery in severe and/or prolonged hypercortisolism to decrease complications.... We definitely need a multidisciplinary approach to address complications and etiologic treatment as well as the reduced long-term quality of life in patients with CS." Largest Study in Scale and Scope of Cushing Syndrome Mortality Endogenous Cushing syndrome occurs when the body overproduces cortisol. The most common cause of the latter is a tumor of the pituitary gland (Cushing disease), but another cause is a usually benign tumor of the adrenal glands (adrenal Cushing syndrome). Surgery is the mainstay of initial treatment of Cushing syndrome. If an operation to remove the tumor fails to cause remission, medications are available. Prior to this new meta-analysis, there had been limited data on mortality among patients with endogenous CS. Research has mostly been limited to single-cohort studies. A previous systematic review/meta-analysis comprised only seven articles with 780 patients. All the studies were conducted prior to 2012, and most were limited to Cushing disease. "In 2021, we lacked a detailed understanding of patient outcomes and mortality because of the rarity of Cushing syndrome," Limumpornpetch noted. The current meta-analysis included 91 articles that reported mortality among patients with endogenous CS. There was a total of 19,181 patients from 92 study cohorts, including 49 studies on CD (n = 14,971), 24 studies on adrenal CS (n = 2304), and 19 studies that included both CS types (n = 1906). Among 21 studies that reported standardized mortality rate (SMR) data, including 13 CD studies (n = 2160) and seven on adrenal CS (n = 1531), the overall increase in mortality compared to the background population was a significant 3.00 (range, 1.15 – 7.84). This SMR was higher among patients with adrenal Cushing syndrome (3.3) vs Cushing disease (2.8) (P = .003) and among patients who had active disease (5.7) vs those whose disease was in remission (2.3) (P < .001). The SMR also was worse among patients with Cushing disease with larger tumors (macroadenomas), at 7.4, than among patients with very small tumors (microadenomas), at 1.9 (P = .004). The proportion of death was 0.05 for CS overall, with 0.04 for CD and 0.02 for adrenal adenomas. Compared to studies published prior to the year 2000, more recent studies seem to reflect advances in treatment and care. The overall proportion of death for all CS cohorts dropped from 0.10 to 0.03 (P < .001); for all CD cohorts, it dropped from 0.14 to 0.03; and for adrenal CS cohorts, it dropped from 0.09 to 0.03 (P = .04). Causes of death were cardiovascular diseases (29.5% of cases), cerebrovascular accident (11.5%), infection (10.5%), and malignancy (10.1%). Less common causes of death were gastrointestinal bleeding and acute pancreatitis (3.7%), active CS (3.5%), adrenal insufficiency (2.5%), suicide (2.5%), and surgery (1.6%). Overall, in the CS groups, the proportion of deaths within 30 days of surgery dropped from 0.04 prior to 2000 to 0.01 since (P = .07). For CD, the proportion dropped from 0.02 to 0.01 (P = .25). Preventing Perioperative Mortality: Consider Thromboprophylaxis Fleseriu told Medscape Medical News that she believes hypercoagulability is "the least recognized complication with a big role in mortality." Because most of the perioperative mortality is due to venous thromboembolism and infections, "thromboprophylaxis should be considered for CS patients with severe hypercortisolism and/or postoperatively, based on individual risk factors of thromboembolism and bleeding." Recently, Fleseriu's group showed in a single retrospective study that the risk for arterial and venous thromboembolic events among patients with CS was approximately 20%. Many patients experienced more than one event. Risk was higher 30 to 60 days postoperatively. The odds ratio of venous thromoboembolism among patients with CS was 18 times higher than in the normal population. "Due to the additional thrombotic risk of surgery or any invasive procedure, anticoagulation prophylaxis should be at least considered in all patients with Cushing syndrome and balanced with individual bleeding risk," Fleseriu advised. A recent Pituitary Society workshop discussed the management of complications of CS at length; proceedings will be published soon, she noted. Limumpornpetch commented, "We look forward to the day when our interdisciplinary approach to managing these challenging patients can deliver outcomes similar to the background population." Limumpornpetch has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Fleseriu has been a scientific consultant to Recordati, Sparrow, and Strongbridge and has received grants (inst) from Novartis and Strongbridge. ENDO 2021: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting: Presented March 20, 2021 Miriam E. Tucker is a freelance journalist based in the Washington, DC, area. She is a regular contributor to Medscape. Other work of hers has appeared in the Washington Post, NPR's Shots blog, and Diabetes Forecast magazine. She can be found on Twitter @MiriamETucker. From https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/949257
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  37. Abnormally high levels of cortisol in the urine — one of the hallmarks of Cushing’s syndrome — seem to be associated with alterations in blood sugar metabolism in obese patients, a study found. The study, “Hypercortisolism and altered glucose homeostasis in obese patients in the pre-bariatric surgery assessment,” was published in the journal Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews.
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  38. Wow 8.4 on the first try. These are textbook adrenal numbers. I hope your doctors come to their senses.
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  39. January 19, 2020 Adrenococortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare cancer, occurring at the rate of one case in two million person years. Cushing syndrome or a mixed picture of excess androgen and glucocorticoid production are the most common presentations of ACC. Other uncommon presentations include abdominal pain and adrenal incidentalomas. In the present report, a 71-year-old male presented with abdominal pain and was eventually diagnosed with ACC. He was found to have pulmonary thromboembolism following an investigation for hypoxemia, with the tumor thrombus extending upto the right atrium. This interesting case represents the unique presentation of a rare tumor, which if detected late or left untreated is associated with poor outcomes, highlighting the need for a low index of suspicion for ACC when similar presentations are encountered in clinical practice. ACC is a rare but aggressive tumor. ACC commonly presents with rapid onset of hypercortisolism, combined hyperandrogenism and hypercortisolism, or uncommonly with compressive symptoms. Clinicians should have a low index of suspicion for ACC in patients presenting with rapid onset of symptoms related to hypercortisolism and/or hyperandrogenism. Venous thromboembolism and extension of the tumor thrombus to the right side of the heart is a very rare but serious complication of ACC that clinicans should be wary of. The increased risk of venous thromboembolism in ACC could be explained by direct tumor invasion, tumor thrombi or hypercoagulability secondary to hypercortisolism. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can improve the long-term survival of patients with ACC. Endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism case reports. 2019 Nov 25 [Epub ahead of print] Skand Shekhar, Sriram Gubbi, Georgios Z Papadakis, Naris Nilubol, Fady Hannah-Shmouni Section on Endocrinology & Genetics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA., Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA., Department of Medical Imaging, Heraklion University Hospital, Medical School, University of Crete, Crete, Greece., Surgical Oncology Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31765326 From https://www.urotoday.com/recent-abstracts/urologic-oncology/adrenal-diseases/118539-adrenocortical-carcinoma-and-pulmonary-embolism-from-tumoral-extension.html
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  40. I just did a search of these boards and there are 3 other topics on antitrypsin...
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  41. Dr. Theodore Friedman will be joined by Shira Miller, MD hosting a webinar on New and Traditional Treatments for Male Hypogonadism Spouses welcome Topics to be discussed include: How to Diagnose Male Hypogonadism? Testosterone Replacement HCG and Clomid Treatment Supplements for Male Hypogonadism Diets for Male Hypogonadism Sunday • February 10, 2019 • 6 PM PST Click here to join the meeting or https://axisconciergemeetings.webex.com/axisconciergemeetings/j.php?MTID=m4969cba4e8f0960a9053f2d03a5e56db OR Join by phone: (855) 797-9485 Slides will be available before the webinar at slides Meeting Number (Access Code): 800 925 805, Your phone/computer will be muted on entry. There will be plenty of time for questions using the chat button. Meeting Password: hormones For more information, email us at mail@goodhormonehealth.com
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  42. A simple test that measures free cortisol levels in saliva at midnight — called a midnight salivary cortisol test — showed good diagnostic performance for Cushing’s syndrome among a Chinese population, according to a recent study. The test was better than the standard urine free cortisol levels and may be an alternative for people with end-stage kidney disease, in whom measuring cortisol in urine is challenging. The study, “Midnight salivary cortisol for the diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome in a Chinese population,” was published in Singapore Medical Journal. Cushing’s syndrome, defined by excess cortisol levels, is normally diagnosed by measuring the amount of cortisol in bodily fluids. Traditionally, urine free cortisol has been the test of choice, but this method is subject to complications ranging from improper collection to metabolic differences, and its use is limited in people with poor kidney function. Midnight salivary cortisol is a test that takes into account the normal fluctuation of cortisol levels in bodily fluids. Cortisol peaks in the morning and declines throughout the day, reaching its lowest levels at midnight. In Cushing’s patients, however, this variation ceases to exist and cortisol remains elevated throughout the day. Midnight salivary cortisol was first proposed in the 1980s as a noninvasive way to measure cortisol levels, but its efficacy and cutoff value for Cushing’s disease in the Chinese population remained unclear. Researchers examined midnight salivary cortisol, urine free cortisol, and midnight serum cortisol in Chinese patients suspected of having Cushing’s syndrome and in healthy volunteers. These measurements were then combined with imaging studies to make a diagnosis. Overall, the study included 29 patients with Cushing’s disease, and 19 patients with Cushing’s syndrome — 15 caused by an adrenal mass and four caused by an ACTH-producing tumor outside the pituitary. Also, 13 patients excluded from the suspected Cushing’s group were used as controls and 21 healthy volunteers were considered the “normal” group. The team found that the mean midnight salivary cortisol was significantly higher in the Cushing’s group compared to both control and normal subjects. Urine free cortisol and midnight serum cortisol were also significantly higher than those found in the control group, but not the normal group. The optimal cutoff value of midnight salivary cortisol for diagnosing Cushing’s was 1.7 ng/mL, which had a sensitivity of 98% — only 2% are false negatives — and a specificity of 100% — no false positives. While midnight salivary cortisol levels correlated with urine free cortisol and midnight serum cortisol — suggesting that all of them can be useful diagnostic markers for Cushing’s — the accuracy of midnight salivary cortisol was better than the other two measures. Notably, in one patient with a benign adrenal mass and impaired kidney function, urine free cortisol failed to reach the necessary threshold for a Cushing’s diagnosis, but midnight salivary and serum cortisol levels both confirmed the diagnosis, highlighting how midnight salivary cortisol could be a preferable diagnostic method over urine free cortisol. “MSC is a simple and non-invasive tool that does not require hospitalization. Our results confirmed the accuracy and reliability of [midnight salivary cortisol] as a diagnostic test for [Cushing’s syndrome] for the Chinese population,” the investigators said. The team also noted that its study is limited: the sample size was quite small, and Cushing’s patients tended to be older than controls, which may have skewed the results. Larger studies will be needed to validate these results in the future. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2019/01/10/midnight-salivary-cortisol-test-helps-diagnose-cushings-chinese-study-shows/
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  43. For those who can not make it to Washington, DC next week, we're pleased to announce a livestream will be available for the Rare Disease Congressional Caucus briefing. Rare Disease Legislative Advocates with honorary co-hosts Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Co-Chairs of the Rare Disease Congressional Caucus, invite you to a lunch briefing: The Diagnostic Odyssey Tuesday, December 4, 2018, from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. 121 Cannon House Office Building Complimentary lunch included Registration available on-site Register for the event livestream by clicking this link. If you have questions about the briefing, please email Shannon von Felden, RDLA Program Manager, at svonfelden@everylifefoundation.org.
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  44. Patients with subclinical hypercortisolism, i.e., without symptoms of cortisol overproduction, and adrenal incidentalomas recover their hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function after surgery faster than those with Cushing’s syndrome (CS), according to a study. Moreover, the researchers found that an HPA function analysis conducted immediately after the surgical removal of adrenal incidentalomas — adrenal tumors discovered by chance in imaging tests — could identify patients in need of glucocorticoid replacement before discharge. Using this approach, they found that most subclinical patients did not require treatment with hydrocortisone, a glucocorticoid taken to compensate for low levels of cortisol in the body, after surgery. The study, “Alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function immediately after resection of adrenal adenomas in patients with Cushing’s syndrome and others with incidentalomas and subclinical hypercortisolism,” was published in Endocrine. The HPA axis is the body’s central stress response system. The hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) that acts on the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), leading the adrenal gland to produce cortisol. As the body’s defense mechanism to avoid excessive cortisol secretion, high cortisol levels alert the hypothalamus to stop producing CRH and the pituitary gland to stop making ACTH. Therefore, in diseases associated with chronically elevated cortisol levels, such as Cushing’s syndrome and adrenal incidentalomas, there’s suppression of the HPA axis. After an adrenalectomy, which is the surgical removal of one or both adrenal glands, patients often have low cortisol levels (hypocortisolism) and require glucocorticoid replacement therapy. “Most studies addressing the peri-operative management of patients with adrenal hypercortisolism have reported that irrespective of how mild the hypercortisolism was, such patients were given glucocorticoids before, during and after adrenalectomy,” the researchers wrote. Evidence also shows that, after surgery, glucocorticoid therapy is administered for months before attempting to test for recovery of HPA function. For the past 30 years, researchers at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have withheld glucocorticoid therapy in the postoperative management of patients with ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas until there’s proof of hypocortisolism. “The approach offered us the opportunity to examine peri-operative hormonal alterations and demonstrate their importance in predicting need for replacement therapy, as well as future recurrences,” they said. In this prospective observational study, the investigators extended their approach to patients with subclinical hypercortisolism. “The primary goal of the study was to examine rapid alteration in HPA function in patients with presumably suppressed axis and appreciate the modulating impact of surgical stress in that setting,” they wrote. Collected data was used to decide whether to start glucocorticoid therapy. The analysis included 14 patients with Cushing’s syndrome and 19 individuals with subclinical hypercortisolism and an adrenal incidentaloma. All participants had undergone surgical removal of a cortisol-secreting adrenal tumor. “None of the patients received exogenous glucocorticoids during the year preceding their evaluation nor were they taking medications or had other illnesses that could influence HPA function or serum cortisol measurements,” the researchers noted. Glucocorticoid therapy was not administered before or during surgery. To evaluate HPA function, the clinical team took blood samples before and at one, two, four, six, and eight hours after the adrenalectomy to determine levels of plasma ACTH, serum cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) — a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Pre-surgery assessment of both groups showed that patients with an incidentaloma plus subclinical hypercortisolism had larger adrenal masses, higher ACTH, and DHEA-S levels, but less serum cortisol after adrenal function suppression testing with dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is a man-made version of cortisol that, in a normal setting, makes the body produce less cortisol. But in patients with a suppressed HPA axis, cortisol levels remain high. After the adrenalectomy, the ACTH concentrations in both groups of patients increased. This was found to be negatively correlated with pre-operative dexamethasone-suppressed cortisol levels. Investigators reported that “serum DHEA-S levels in patients with Cushing’s syndrome declined further after adrenalectomy and were undetectable by the 8th postoperative hour,” while incidentaloma patients’ DHEA-S concentrations remained unchanged for the eight-hour postoperative period. Eight hours after surgery, all Cushing’s syndrome patients had serum cortisol levels of less than 2 ug/dL, indicating suppressed HPA function. As a result, all of these patients required glucocorticoid therapy for several months to make up for HPA axis suppression. “The decline in serum cortisol levels was slower and less steep [in the incidentaloma group] when compared to that observed in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. At the 6th–8th postoperative hours only 5/19 patients [26%] with subclinical hypercortisolism had serum cortisol levels at ≤3ug/dL and these 5 were started on hydrocortisone therapy,” the researchers wrote. Replacement therapy in the subclinical hypercortisolism group was continued for up to four weeks. Results suggest that patients with an incidentaloma plus subclinical hypercortisolism did not have an entirely suppressed HPA axis, as they were able to recover its function much faster than the CS group after surgical stress. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/10/11/most-subclinical-cushings-patients-dont-need-glucocorticoids-post-surgery-study/?utm_source=Cushing%27s+Disease+News&utm_campaign=a881a1593b-RSS_WEEKLY_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ad0d802c5b-a881a1593b-72451321
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  45. Thanks to all that have responded to my post. I have an endocrinologist appt. on October 23rd. I pray that he has the wisdom to help me.
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  46. A plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone suppression test performed shortly after surgical adenomectomy may accurately predict both short- and long-term remission of Cushing’s disease, according to research published in Pituitary. “Cushing’s disease is caused by hypersecretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by a pituitary adenoma, resulting in hypercortisolism,” Erik Uvelius, MD, of the department of clinical sciences, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Sweden, and colleagues wrote in the study background. “Surgical adenomectomy is the first line of treatment. Postoperative remission is reported in 43% to 95% of cases depending on factors such as adenoma size, finding of pituitary adenoma on preoperative MRI and surgeons’ experience. However, there is no consensus on what laboratory assays and biochemical thresholds should be used in determining or predicting remission over time.” In the study, the researchers retrospectively gathered data from medical records of 28 patients who presented with Cushing’s disease to Skåne University Hospital between November 1998 and December 2011, undergoing 45 transsphenoidal adenomectomies. On postoperative days 2 and 3, oral betamethasone was administered (1 mg at 8 a.m., 0.5 mg at 2 p.m., and 0.5 mg at 8 p.m.). Researchers assessed plasma cortisol and plasma ACTH before betamethasone administration and again at 24 and 48 hours, and measured 24-urinary free cortisol on postoperative day 3. At 3 months postoperatively and then annually, plasma concentrations of morning cortisol and ACTH along with urinary-free cortisol and/or a low-dose dexamethasone suppression test were evaluated at the endocrinologists’ discretion. The researchers defined remission as lessening of clinical signs and symptoms of hypercortisolism, as well as laboratory confirmation through the various tests. The researchers used Youden’s index to establish the cutoff with the highest sensitivity and specificity in predicting remission over the short term (3 months) and long term (5 years or more). Clinical accuracy of the different tests was illustrated through the area under curve. The study population consisted of mainly women (71%), with a median age of 49.5 years. No significant disparities were seen in age, sex or surgical technique between patients who underwent a primary procedure and those who underwent reoperation. Two of the patients were diagnosed with pituitary carcinoma and 11 had a macroadenoma. ACTH positivity was identified in all adenomas and pathologists confirmed two cases of ACTH-producing carcinomas. Of the 28 patients, 12 (43%) demonstrated long-term remission at last follow-up. Three patients were not deemed in remission after primary surgery but were not considered eligible for additional surgical intervention, whereas 13 patients underwent 17 reoperations to address remaining disease or recurrence. Four patients demonstrated long-term remission after a second or third procedure, equaling 16 patients (57%) achieving long-term remission, according to the researchers. The researchers found that both short- and long-term remission were most effectively predicted through plasma cortisol after 24 and 48 hours with betamethasone. A short-term remission cutoff of 107 nmol/L was predicted with a sensitivity of 0.85, specificity of 0.94 and a positive predictive value of 0.96 and AUC of 0.92 (95% CI, 0.85-1). A long-term remission cutoff of 49 nmol/L was predicted with a sensitivity of 0.94, specificity of 0.93, positive predictive value of 0.88 and AUC of 0.98 (95% CI, 0.95-1). This cutoff was close to the suppression cutoff for the diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, 50 nmol/L. The cutoff of 25 nmol/L showed that the use of such a strict suppression cutoff would cause a low level of true positives and a higher occurrence of false negatives, according to the researchers. “A 48 h 2 mg/day betamethasone suppression test day 2 and 3 after transsphenoidal surgery of Cushing’s disease could safely predict short- and long-term remission with high accuracy,” the researchers wrote. “Plasma cortisol after 24 hours of suppression showed the best accuracy in predicting 5 years’ remission. Until consensus on remission criteria, it is still the endocrinologists’ combined assessment that defines remission.” – by Jennifer Byrne Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures. From https://www.healio.com/endocrinology/neuroendocrinology/news/in-the-journals/%7B0fdfb7b0-e418-4b53-b59d-1ffa3f7b8cd3%7D/acth-test-after-adenomectomy-may-accurately-predict-cushings-disease-remission
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  47. Patients with different subtypes of Cushing’s syndrome (CS) have distinct plasma steroid profiles. This could be used as a test for diagnosis and classification, a German study says. The study, “Plasma Steroid Metabolome for Diagnosis and Subtyping Patients with Cushing Syndrome,” appeared in the journal Clinical Chemistry. A quick diagnosis of CS is crucial so that doctors can promptly give therapy. However, diagnosing CS is often complicated by the multiple tests necessary not just to diagnose the disease but also to determine its particular subtype. Cortisol, which leads to CS when produced at high levels, is a steroid hormone. But while earlier studies were conducted to determine whether patients with different subtypes of CS had distinct steroid profiles, the methods researchers used were cumbersome and have been discontinued for routine use. Recently, a technique called LC-MS/MS has emerged for multi-steroid profiling in patients with adrenocortical dysfunction such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, adrenal insufficiency and primary aldosteronism. Researchers at Germany’s Technische Universität in Dresden used that method to determine whether patients with the three main subtypes of CS (pituitary, ectopic and adrenal) showed differences in plasma steroid profiles. They measured levels of 15 steroids produced by the adrenal glands in single plasma samples collected from 84 patients with confirmed CS and 227 age-matched controls. They found that CS patients saw huge increases in the plasma steroid levels of 11-deoxycortisol (289%), 21-deoxycortisol (150%), 11-deoxycorticosterone (133%), corticosterone (124%) and cortisol (122%), compared to patients without the disease. Patients with the ectopic subtype had the biggest jumps in levels of these steroids. However, plasma 18-oxocortisol levels were particularly low in ectopic disease. Other steroids demonstrated considerable variation. Patients with the adrenal subtype had the lowest concentration of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA-SO4, which are androgens. Patients with the ectopic and pituitary subtype had the lowest concentration of aldosterone. Through the use of 10 selected steroids, patients with different subtypes of CS could be identified almost as closely as with other tests, including the salivary and urinary free cortisol test, the dexamethasone-suppressed cortisol test, and plasma adrenocorticotropin levels. The misclassification rate using steroid levels was 9.5 percent, compared to 5.8 percent in other tests. “This study using simultaneous LC-MS/MS measurements of 15 adrenal steroids in plasma establishes distinct steroid metabolome profiles that might be useful as a test for CS,” the team concluded, adding that using LC-MS/MS is advantageous, as specimen preparation is simple and the entire panel takes 12 minutes to run. This means it could be offered as a single test for both identification and subtype classification. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/01/02/plasma-steroid-levels-used-screen-diagnosis-subtyping-patients-cushing-syndrome/
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  48. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an orally available ghrelin agonist, macimorelin (Macrilen, Aeterna Zentaris), to be used in the diagnosis of patients with adult growth-hormone deficiency (AGHD). Macimorelin stimulates the secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland into the circulatory system. Stimulated growth-hormone levels are measured in four blood samples over 90 minutes after oral administration of the agent for the assessment of growth-hormone deficiency. Prior to the approval of macimorelin, the historical gold standard for evaluation of adult growth-hormone deficiency was the insulin tolerance test (ITT), an intravenous test requiring many blood draws over several hours. The ITT procedure is inconvenient for patients and medical practitioners and is contraindicated in some patients, such as those with coronary heart disease or seizure disorder, because it requires the patient to experience hypoglycemia to obtain an accurate result. Adult growth-hormone deficiency is a rare disorder characterized by the inadequate secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. It can be hereditary; acquired as a result of trauma, infection, radiation therapy, or brain tumor growth; or can even emerge without a diagnosable cause. Currently, it is treated with once-daily injections of subcutaneous growth hormone. "Clinical studies have demonstrated that growth-hormone stimulation testing for adult growth-hormone deficiency with oral…macimorelin is reliable, well-tolerated, reproducible, and safe and a much simpler test to conduct than currently available options," said Kevin Yuen, MD, clinical investigator and neuroendocrinologist, Barrow Neurological Institute, and medical director of the Barrow Neuroendocrinology Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona, in a press release issued by Aeterna Zentaris. "The availability of…macimorelin will greatly relieve the burden of endocrinologists in reliably and accurately diagnosing adult growth-hormone deficiency," he added. Aeterna Zentaris estimates that approximately 60,000 tests for suspected adult growth-hormone deficiency are conducted each year across the United States, Canada, and Europe. "In the absence of an FDA-approved diagnostic test for adult growth-hormone deficiency, Macrilen fills an important gap and addresses a medical need for a convenient test that will better serve patients and health providers," said Michael V Ward, chief executive officer, Aeterna Zentaris. Macrilen is expected to be launched in the United States during the first quarter of 2018. It is also awaiting approval in the European Union. Follow Lisa Nainggolan on Twitter: @lisanainggolan1. For more diabetes and endocrinology news, follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. From https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/890457
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  49. I wish there was a more candid discussion about this. Far too many women are wondering about the risks of passing Cushing's along in some form to their children. Some have chosen to adopt, others to not have any more children period (because of the fatigue of the disease), and other still choose to pursue live births. I personally can't wait to have my tubes tied and move on without worry. My son is already trending towards symptoms and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, let alone a child...
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