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Irina Bancos, M.D., an endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Jamie J. Van Gompel, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota, discuss Mayo's multidisciplinary approach to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary tumors. Pituitary tumors are common and often don't cause problems. But some pituitary tumors produce the hormone ACTH, which stimulates the production of another hormone (cortisol). Overproduction of cortisol can result in Cushing syndrome, with signs and symptoms such as weight gain, skin changes and fatigue. Cushing syndrome is rare but can cause significant long-term health problems. Treatment for Cushing syndrome caused by a pituitary tumor generally involves surgery to remove the tumor. Radiation therapy and occasionally adrenal surgery may be needed to treat Cushing syndrome caused by ACTH-secreting pituitary tumors. Mayo Clinic has experience with this rare condition.
A noninvasive 7 Tesla MRI scanner at University of Southern California is the first 7T scanner to be used on a patient with Cushing's disease in the U.S., according to a USC news release. When a brain tumor was found to be "MRI-negative" in a 28-year-old female patient, physicians at the USC's Pituitary Center were unsatisfied with the results. After deciding to use the Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute's (INI) new ultrahigh field 7 Tesla MRI scanner to localize the tumor, the patient was officially diagnosed with Cushing's disease and researchers were finally able to see the tumor that would've otherwise appeared hidden in a standard MRI. Cushing's disease is caused by a pituitary microadenoma, or very small tumor, which results in chronically elevated cortisol. Symptoms include weight gain, skin bruising and hair loss and if left untreated, the condition can be fatal. Because of this case, USC researchers believe the 7T scanner will be able to replace the standard, and invasive, method of clinical diagnosis, according to the news release. “It’s clear that this is the beginning of a new frontier for ultrahigh field MR technologies,” said Arthur Toga, PhD, director of the INI, in a prepared statement. “The enhanced image quality opens many doors for neuroscientists in both research and clinical settings.” From http://www.healthimaging.com/topics/neuroimaging/uscs-7-tesla-mri-scanner-first-identify-cushings-disease-us-patient
Researchers have determined mutations in the gene CABLES1 may lead to Cushing syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body overproduces the stress hormone cortisol. The National Institutes of Health study findings published in Endocrine-Related Cancer found four of the 181 children and adult patient examined had mutant forms of CABLES1 that do not respond to cortisol. The determination proved significant because normal functioning CABLES1 protein, expressed by the CABLES1 gene, slows the division and growth of pituitary cells that produce the hormone adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). Researchers at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) joined scientists from other institutions in the United States, France and Canada, in the evaluation. “The mutations we identified impair the tumor suppressor function in the pituitary gland,” Constantine A. Stratakis, the study’s senior author and director of the NICHD Division of Intramural Research, said. “This discovery could lead to the development of treatment strategies that simulate the function of the CABLES1 protein and prevent recurrence of pituitary tumors in people with Cushing syndrome.” Cushing syndrome symptoms include obesity, muscle weakness, fatigue, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, depression and anxiety, officials said, adding excess cortisol found in the disorder can result from certain steroid medications or from tumors of the pituitary or adrenal glands. Researchers maintain that more studies are needed to fully understand how CABLES1 suppresses tumor formation in the pituitary gland. From https://lifesciencedaily.com/stories/21624-study-links-genetic-mutations-cushing-syndrome/