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  1. 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
  2. Patients with adrenal insufficiency may have higher rates of cardiovascular events due to the presence of cardiovascular comorbidities, shows a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Led by Kanchana Ngaosuwan, MD, PhD, of Imperial College London, UK, the authors of this population-based matched cohort study also found that cerebrovascular events were independently increased in patients with secondary adrenal insufficiency, particularly in those treated with irradiation therapy. Cardiovascular mortality, specifically from ischemic heart disease, was higher regardless of having secondary adrenal insufficiency or primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease). Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce adequate glucocorticoids. In Addison’s disease, it arises from the adrenal glands, but in secondary adrenal insufficiency, it occurs as a result of a pituitary or hypothalamic condition. Glucocorticoid replacement therapy is usually the first line of defense, but the treatment is associated with a number of adverse events, such as cardiovascular disease. Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death for patients with Addison’s disease. Data from this study was sourced from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink which collected information from 15,354,125 individuals living in the United Kingdom between 1987 and 2017. Data from patients prescribed glucocorticoid prescriptions for adrenal insufficiency (primary: n=2,052; secondary: n=3,948) and random age and gender matched controls (primary: n=20,366; secondary: n=39,134) were assessed for comorbidities and clinical outcomes. Patients and controls had previous cardiovascular disease (17.5% vs 11.2%), diabetes (10.4% vs 4.8%), hypertension (22.1% vs 13.6%), dyslipidemia (20.5% vs 5.0%), and 19.6% and 4.9% of patients and controls were taking statins, respectively. Composite cardiovascular events occurred at a rate of 31.4 (95% CI, 29.6-33.3) per 1,000 person-years among the patients and 24.4 (95% CI, 23.9-24.9; P <.0001) per 1,000 person years among the controls. Stratified by adrenal insufficiency subtype, after correcting for cofounders, patients with primary (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.08; 95% CI, 0.96-1.22) and secondary (aHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.01-1.19) adrenal insufficiency were at marginally increased risk for composite cardiovascular events. Cerebrovascular disease occurred at a rate of 10.4 (95% CI, 9.5-11.5) per 1.000 person years among the patients and 7.2 (95% CI, 7.0-7.5; P <.0001) per 1,000 person years among the controls. Only patients with secondary adrenal insufficiency were at increased risk for cerebrovascular disease (aHR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.34-1.74). All patients had increased risk for hospitalization due to cardiovascular diseases (aHR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.28-1.55) and only the patients with secondary adrenal insufficiency were more likely to be hospitalized with cerebrovascular disease (aHR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.28-2.08). Patients had increased rates of cardiovascular mortality compared with controls (9.9 vs 6.4 per 1,000 person years; P <.0001). Both patients with primary (aHR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.19-2.10) and secondary (aHR, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.99-1.52) insufficiency were at increased risk for cardiovascular mortality. Risk for cerebrovascular mortality was elevated for patients with secondary insufficiency (aHR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.78-1.67). Stratified by secondary insufficiency, age, and sex, women (aHR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.04-1.31; P =.016) and patients who were less than 50 years old (aHR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.22-2.03; P <.0001) were at increased risk for composite cardiovascular events. Similarly, patients 50 years old or younger were at increased risk for cerebrovascular disease (aHR, 3.67; 95% CI, 2.60-5.17; P <.0001). These data may be limited by the cohort imbalance of disease risk factors, although the investigators corrected for these features, some residual biases may remain. While further study is needed to assess changes in treatment approaches, the authors suggested that “these findings support further optimization of glucocorticoid replacement in conjunction with cardio protective interventions in patients with adrenal insufficiency.” Reference Ngaosuwan K, Johnston D G, Godsland I F, et al. Cardiovascular disease in patients with primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency and the role of comorbidities. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021;dgab063. doi:10.1210/clinem/dgab063. From https://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/home/topics/cardiovascular-and-metabolic-disorders/adrenal-insufficiency-associated-with-increased-cvd-and-cerebrovascular-disease/
  3. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism — Lee IT, et al. | February 07, 2019 Using immunohistochemistry, researchers determined whether adipose tissue (AT) inflammation in humans is associated with chronic endogenous glucocorticoid (GC) exposure due to Cushing’s disease (CD). Abdominal subcutaneous AT samples were evaluated for macrophage infiltration and mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in 10 patients with active CD and 10 age, gender and BMI- matched healthy subjects. The presence of AT macrophages, a hallmark of AT inflammation, increases chronic exposure to GCs due to CD. AT inflammation can, therefore, be the source of systemic inflammation in these patients, which in turn can contribute to obesity, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. In patients with CD, PCR showed no differences in mRNA expression of any analyzed markers. Read the full article on Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
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