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  1. Researchers published the study covered in this summary on Research Square as a preprint that has not yet been peer reviewed. Key Takeaways Among women who underwent pituitary surgery to treat Cushing disease subsequent pregnancy had no apparent effect on Cushing disease recurrence, in a single-center review of 113 women treated over a 30-year period. Why This Matters No single factor predicts the recurrence of Cushing disease during long-term follow-up of patients who have undergone pituitary surgery. This is the first study to assess the effect of pregnancy on Cushing disease recurrence in a group of reproductive-age women who initially showed post-surgical remission. Study Design Retrospective study of 355 patients with confirmed Cushing disease who were admitted to a single tertiary hospital in Brazil between 1990 and 2020. All patients had transsphenoidal surgery, with a minimum follow-up of 6 months and median follow-up of 83 months. Remission occurred in 246 of these patients. The current analysis focused on 113 of the patients who achieved remission, were women, were 45 years old or younger at time of surgery (median 32 years old), and had information available on their obstetric history. Ninety-one of these women (81%) did not become pregnant after their surgery, and 22 (19%) became pregnant after surgery. Key Results Among the 113 women in the main analysis 43 (38%) had a Cushing disease recurrence, a median of 48 months after their pituitary surgery. Following surgery, 11 women in each of the two subgroups (recurrence, no recurrence) became pregnant. Although the subgroup with recurrence had a higher incidence of pregnancy (11/43; 26%) compared with those with no recurrence (11/70; 16%) Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that survival free of Cushing disease recurrence was similar and not significantly different in the women with a postsurgical pregnancy and those who did not become pregnant (P=.531). The review also showed that, of the women who became pregnant, several obstetrical measures were similar between patients who had a recurrence and those who remained in remission, including number of pregnancies per patient, maternal weight gain, type of delivery (normal or cesarean), delivery time (term or premature), neonatal weight, and neonatal size. The review also showed roughly similar rates of maternal and fetal complications in these two subgroups of women who became pregnant. Limitations The study was retrospective and included a relatively small number of patients. The authors collected information on obstetric history for some patients by telephone or email contacts. Disclosures The study received no commercial funding. None of the authors had disclosures. This is a summary of a preprint research study , " Pregnancy After Pituitary Surgery Does Not Influence the Recurrence of Cushing's Disease, " written by researchers at the Sao Paulo (Brazil) University Faculty of Medicine on Research Square provided to you by Medscape. This study has not yet been peer reviewed. The full text of the study can be found on researchsquare.com.
  2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aace.2021.10.004Get rights and content Under a Creative Commons license open access Highlights • Cushing’s Disease (CD) in pregnancy is rare, but poses many risks to the mother and fetus • Although surgery is still considered first line, this CASE highlights the successful use of metyrapone throughout pregnancy to manage CD in patients where surgery is considered high risk or low likelihood of cure • The dose of metyrapone can be titrated to a goal urinary free cortisol of < 150 ug/24 hours given the known rise in cortisol during gestation • Though no fetal adverse events have been reported, metyrapone does cross the placenta and long-term effects are unknown. ABSTRACT Background Cushing Disease (CD) in pregnancy is a rare, but serious, disease that adversely impacts maternal and fetal outcomes. As the sole use of metyrapone in the management of CD has been rarely reported, we describe our experience using it to treat a pregnant patient with CD. Case Report 34-year-old woman with hypertension who was diagnosed with adrenocorticotropic hormone-dependent CD based on a urinary free cortisol (UFC) of 290 μg/24hr (reference 6-42μg/dL) and abnormal dexamethasone suppression test (cortisol 12.4 μg/dL) before becoming pregnant. She conceived naturally 12 weeks post-transsphenoidal surgery, and was subsequently found to have persistent disease with UFC 768μg/dL. Surgery was deemed high risk given the proximity of the tumor to the right carotid artery and high likelihood of residual disease. Instead, she was managed with metyrapone throughout her pregnancy and titrated to goal UFC of <150μg/24hr due to the known physiologic rise in cortisol during gestation. The patient had diet-controlled gestational diabetes, and well-controlled hypertension. She gave birth at 37 weeks gestation to a healthy baby boy, without adrenal insufficiency in the baby or mother. Discussion This CASE highlights the successful use of metyrapone throughout pregnancy to manage CD in patients where surgery is considered high risk or low likelihood of cure. While metyrapone is effective, close surveillance is required for worsening hypertension, hypokalemia, and potential adrenal insufficiency. Though no fetal adverse events have been reported, this medication crosses the placenta and long-term effects are unknown. Conclusion We describe a CASE of CD during pregnancy that was successfully treated with metyrapone. Key words Cushing disease metyrapone pregnancy cortisol INTRODUCTION Cushing disease (CD) is caused by endogenous overproduction of glucocorticoids due to hypersecretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by a pituitary adenoma. CD in pregnancy is very rare, and when it occurs, it is considered a high-risk pregnancy with many potential adverse outcomes for both the mother and fetus.1 Infertility is common in CD due to cortisol and androgen excess leading to hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.1 Due to the rarity of CD in pregnancy, there is little guidance in terms of treatment for this patient population. Similar to non-pregnant patients, the first-line treatment is transsphenoidal pituitary adenoma resection, with medical therapy as a second-line treatment option. This report presents a CASE that highlights the use of metyrapone, a steroidogenesis inhibitor, as a sole therapy in cases where surgery is deemed to be high risk and unlikely curative due to location of the tumor. CASE REPORT A 34-year-old woman with a past medical history of hypertension and infertility for six years presented to endocrinology for evaluation. Aside from difficulty conceiving, her only complaints were nausea and easy bruising. On exam she did not have clinical features of CD –abdominal violaceous striae, moon facies or a dorsocervical fat pad were absent. Her laboratory results revealed an elevated prolactin level (50-60ng/mL, reference range 1.4-24), an elevated ACTH level (61 pg/mL, reference range 0-46), and low FSH and LH levels (1.7mIU/mL and 1.76mIU/mL, respectively). Further testing demonstrated an elevated urinary free cortisol level (UFC) (290μg/24 hour, reference range 6-42) and her cortisol failed to suppress on a 1mg dexamethasone suppression test (cortisol 12.4μg/dL). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pituitary with and without contrast showed a T2 hyperintense, hypoenhancing lesion within the right side of the sella touching the right cavernous internal carotid artery measuring 8x8x9 mm consistent with a pituitary adenoma (Figure 1). Download : Download high-res image (247KB) Download : Download full-size image Figure 1. Caption: T1 weighted post gadolinium coronal image of the pituitary gland with a small hypoenhancing lesion within the right side of the sella. After the presumed diagnosis of CD was made, she was referred to neurosurgery for transsphenoidal resection of the adenoma, which she underwent a few months later. Intra-operatively, a white friable tumor was found, and otherwise the surgery was uneventful. Three months later, however, she was found to have a persistent 8x8x9mm hypoenhancing lesion extending laterally over the right cavernous carotid artery on MRI. The mass approximated but did not contact the right intracranial optic nerve. The pathology from resected tissue was consistent with normal pituitary tissue with staining for growth hormone (80%), ACTH (30%), prolactin (40%), follicle stimulating hormone (5%), luteinizing hormone (40%) and thyroid stimulating hormone (15%), proving the surgery to have been unsuccessful. Twelve weeks post-operatively, the patient discovered she was pregnant. At 12 weeks gestation, her UFC was 768μg/24h and two midnight salivary cortisol levels were elevated at 0.175 and 0.625μg/dL (reference <0.010-0.090). She was experiencing easy bruising and taking labetalol 400 mg twice daily for hypertension. She had gained 10 pounds by 12 weeks gestation. A second transsphenoidal surgery during pregnancy was deemed high risk, with a high likelihood of residual disease due to the proximity of the tumor to the right carotid artery. The decision was made to treat the patient medically with metyrapone which was started at 250 mg twice per day at 12 weeks gestation and was eventually uptitrated based on UFC levels every 3-4 weeks (goal of <150μg /24h) to 1000 mg three times per day by the time of delivery with an eventual UFC level of 120μg/24h (Figure 2) . Morning ACTH and serum cortisol levels were monitored for potential adrenal insufficiency. Download : Download high-res image (375KB) Download : Download full-size image Figure 2. Caption: This figure depicts the patient’s 24 hour urinary cortisol levels over time as well as the titration of metyrapone dosage in mg/day. Her hypertension was well controlled throughout pregnancy on labetalol with the addition of nifedipine XL 30mg daily in the second trimester. She remained normokalemic with potassium ranging from 3.8-4.1mEq/L. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 24 weeks by an abnormal two-step oral glucose tolerance test, which was diet-controlled. The patient was induced at 37 weeks gestation due to cervical insufficiency with cerclage in place, and was given stress dose steroids along with metyrapone. She delivered a healthy baby boy vaginally without complications. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9 and he weighed 6 pounds and 5 ounces. At the time of delivery and one week later, the baby’s cortisol levels were normal (6 μg/dL, normal 4-20), without evidence of adrenal insufficiency. The patient’s metyrapone dose was reduced to 500mg three times a day after pregnancy and her 2 month postpartum 24 hour UFC was 42μg/24hr. The patient stopped the metyrapone on her own four months later and her UFC was found to be elevated at 272ug/24hr (normal 6-42μg/24hr). An MRI one year postpartum revealed a 10x10x9 mm adenoma in the right sella with some suprasellar extension without compression of the optic chiasm, but with abutment of the right carotid artery. Due to the persistently elevated cortisol, large size of the tumor, and potential for cure, especially if followed by radiation therapy, a second transsphenoidal surgery was recommended. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the patient underwent a delayed surgery 1.5 years postpartum. The pathology was consistent with a pituitary adenoma that stained strongly and diffusely for ACTH and synaptophysin, only. Her postoperative day 2 cortisol was 1.1μg/dL (reference range 6.7-22.6) and hydrocortisone 20mg in the morning and 10mg in the afternoon was started. She remains on hydrocortisone replacement and went on to conceive again, one month after her second surgery. DISCUSSION We describe a patient with pre-existing CD who became pregnant and was managed successfully with metyrapone throughout her pregnancy. Although CD is rare in pregnancy, it can occur, and poses risks to both the mother and fetus.1,2 Potential maternal complications include hypertension, preeclampsia, diabetes, fractures and more uncommonly, cardiac failure, psychiatric disorders, infection and maternal death.1,2 There is also increased fetal morbidity including prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation and less commonly CD can lead to stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, intrauterine death and hypoadrenalism.1,2 It is, therefore, imperative that these patients receive prompt care to control cortisol levels. The treatment of CD in pregnancy is challenging as there are no large research trials studying the efficacy and safety of medications in CD during pregnancy. Pituitary surgery is first-line recommendation and should be done late in the first trimester or in the second trimester to prevent spontaneous pregnancy loss.3 In this CASE, however, it was felt that a second surgery would be high-risk given the proximity of the tumor to the right carotid artery and possibly not curative, and thus surgery was not a feasible option. She was therefore successfully managed with medical therapy with metyrapone alone throughout her pregnancy. Metyrapone use in pregnancy has been previously reported in the literature and has been shown to be effective in reducing cortisol levels.4,5,6 Although not approved for use in pregnancy, this steroidogenesis inhibitor is the most commonly used medication to treat Cushing’s syndrome in pregnant women.3,5 Due to metyrapone’s inhibition of 11-beta-hydroxylase, there is a buildup of steroidogenesis precursors such as 11-deoxycorticosterone, which can worsen hypertension, increase frequency of preeclampsia, and cause hypokalemia.3 Metyrapone also leads to elevation of adrenal androgens, which in conjunction with accumulation of 11-deoxycorticosterone, can cause hirsutism and virilization. 8 Though the use of Cabergoline has been reported in cases with Cushing disease during pregnancy, no long term safety data is available regarding it effects on pregnancy as well as the fetus. Moreover, studies assessing the effect of cabergoline in persistent or recurrent CD show a response rate of 20-30% only in cases with mild hypercortisolism. 9 There is no consensus on how to medically treat patients with CD during pregnancy. We chose a goal UFC of <150μg/24 hours because of the physiological rise of cortisol to two to three times the upper limit of normal during pregnancy.3,7 During pregnancy, there is an increase in corticotropin-releasing hormone from the placenta, which is identical in structure to the hypothalamic form.7 This leads to increased levels of ACTH which stimulates the maternal adrenal glands to become slightly hypertrophic and accounts for the rise in serum cortisol levels in pregnancy.7 Corticosteroid-binding globulin also increases in pregnancy, along with serum free cortisol, leading to urinary free cortisol increasing to 3-fold the normal range.7 We therefore aimed to keep our patient’s urinary free cortisol approximately 3 times the upper limit of normal on our assay, to maintain normal cortisol levels for pregnancy. Close surveillance of patients is required for worsening hypertension, hypokalemia, and potential adrenal insufficiency.3 Although no fetal adverse events from metyrapone have been reported, the medication does cross the placenta, leading to the potential for fetal adrenal insufficiency, and long-term effects are unknown.3 CONCLUSION This CASE demonstrates the successful use of metyrapone alone to treat CD throughout pregnancy resulting in the birth of a healthy baby without adrenal insufficiency. These cases are particularly challenging given the lack of FDA-approved therapies and the lack of consensus on directing titration of medications and the duration of therapy. Uncited reference 4., 6.. REFERENCES: 1 T. Brue, V. Amodru, F. Castinetti MANAGEMENT OF ENDOCRINE DISEASE: Management of Cushing's syndrome during pregnancy: solved and unsolved questions Eur J Endocrinol, 178 (6) (2018 Jun), pp. R259-R266, 10.1530/EJE-17-1058 Epub 2018 Mar 9. PMID: 29523633 View PDF CrossRefView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar 2 F. Caimari, E. Valassi, P. Garbayo, C. Steffensen, A. Santos, R. Corcoy, S.M. Webb Cushing's syndrome and pregnancy outcomes: a systematic review of published cases Endocrine, 55 (2) (2017 Feb), pp. 555-563, 10.1007/s12020-016-1117-0 Epub 2016 Oct 4. PMID: 27704478 View PDF CrossRefView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar 3 M.D. Bronstein, M.C. Machado, M.C. Fragoso MANAGEMENT OF ENDOCRINE DISEASE: Management of pregnant patients with Cushing's syndrome Eur J Endocrinol, 173 (2) (2015 Aug), pp. R85-91, 10.1530/EJE-14-1130 Epub 2015 Apr 14. PMID: 25872515 View PDF View Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar 4 Azzola A, Eastabrook G, Matsui D, Berberich A, Tirona RG, Gray D, Gallego P, Van Uum S. Adrenal Cushing Syndrome Diagnosed During Pregnancy: Successful Medical Management With Metyrapone. J Endocr Soc. 2020 Nov 5;5(1):bvaa167. doi: 10.1210/jendso/bvaa167. PMID: 33305159; PMCID: PMC7712789. Google Scholar 5 W.H. Lim, D.J. Torpy, W.S. Jeffries The medical management of Cushing's syndrome during pregnancy Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol, 168 (1) (2013 May), pp. 1-6, 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2012.12.015 Epub 2013 Jan 8. PMID: 23305861 ArticleDownload PDFView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar 6 Gormley MJ, Hadden DR, Kennedy TL, Montgomery DA, Murnaghan GA, Sheridan B. Cushing's syndrome in pregnancy--treatment with metyrapone. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1982 Mar;16(3):283-293. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.1982.tb00718.x. PMID: 7074978. Google Scholar 7 M.C. Machado, M.C.B.V. Fragoso, M.D. Bronstein Pregnancy in Patients with Cushing's Syndrome Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am, 47 (2) (2018 Jun), pp. 441-449, 10.1016/j.ecl.2018.02.004 PMID: 29754643 ArticleDownload PDFView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar 8 Jeffcoate WJ, Rees LH, Tomlin S, Jones AE, Edwards CR, Besser GM. Metyrapone in long-term management of Cushing's disease. Br Med J. 1977 Jul 23;2(6081):215-217. doi: 10.1136/bmj.2.6081.215. PMID: 195666; PMCID: PMC1631369. Google Scholar 9 Stalldecker G, Mallea-Gil MS, Guitelman M, Alfieri A, Ballarino MC, Boero L, Chervin A, Danilowicz K, Diez S, Fainstein-Day P, García-Basavilbaso N, Glerean M, Gollan V, Katz D, Loto MG, Manavela M, Rogozinski AS, Servidio M, Vitale NM. Effects of cabergoline on pregnancy and embryo-fetal development: retrospective study on 103 pregnancies and a review of the literature. Pituitary. 2010 Dec;13(4):345-350. doi: 10.1007/s11102-010-0243-6. PMID: 20676778. Google Scholar Clinical Relevance: Cushing’s Disease (CD) in pregnancy is a rare, but serious, disease that has potential adverse effects on maternal and fetal health. Surgery is considered first line therapy, and there is little consensus on medical treatment of CD in pregnancy. This CASE demonstrates the successful use and titration of metyrapone throughout pregnancy. From https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2376060521001164
  3. I think we always knew Cushing's and pregnancy were related... Abstract Cushing’s syndrome (CS) during pregnancy is very rare with a few cases reported in the literature. Of great interest, some cases of CS during pregnancy spontaneously resolve after delivery. Most studies suggest that aberrant luteinizing hormone (LH)/human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) receptor (LHCGR) seems to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of CS during pregnancy. However, not all women during pregnancy are observed cortisol hypersecretion. Moreover, some cases of adrenal tumors or macronodular hyperplasia with LHCGR expressed, have no response to hCG or LH. Therefore, alternative pathogenic mechanisms are indicated. It has been recently reported that estrogen binding to estrogen receptor α (ERα) could enhance the adrenocortical adenocarcinoma (ACC) cell proliferation. Herein, we hypothesize that ERα is probably involved in CS development during pregnancy. Better understanding of the possible mechanism of ERα on cortisol production and adrenocortical tumorigenesis will contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of CS during pregnancy. Read the entire article here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987720303893?via%3Dihub
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