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Found 12 results

  1. Abstract Context Arginine-vasopressin and CRH act synergistically to stimulate secretion of ACTH. There is evidence that glucocorticoids act via negative feedback to suppress arginine-vasopressin secretion. Objective Our hypothesis was that a postoperative increase in plasma copeptin may serve as a marker of remission of Cushing disease (CD). Design Plasma copeptin was obtained in patients with CD before and daily on postoperative days 1 through 8 after transsphenoidal surgery. Peak postoperative copeptin levels and Δcopeptin values were compared among those in remission vs no remission. Results Forty-four patients (64% female, aged 7-55 years) were included, and 19 developed neither diabetes insipidus (DI) or syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuresis (SIADH). Thirty-three had follow-up at least 3 months postoperatively. There was no difference in peak postoperative copeptin in remission (6.1 pmol/L [4.3-12.1]) vs no remission (7.3 pmol/L [5.4-8.4], P = 0.88). Excluding those who developed DI or SIADH, there was no difference in peak postoperative copeptin in remission (10.2 pmol/L [6.9-21.0]) vs no remission (5.4 pmol/L [4.6-7.3], P = 0.20). However, a higher peak postoperative copeptin level was found in those in remission (14.6 pmol/L [±10.9] vs 5.8 (±1.4), P = 0.03]) with parametric testing. There was no difference in the Δcopeptin by remission status. Conclusions A difference in peak postoperative plasma copeptin as an early marker to predict remission of CD was not consistently present, although the data point to the need for a larger sample size to further evaluate this. However, the utility of this test may be limited to those who develop neither DI nor SIADH postoperatively. Cushing disease, copeptin, cortisol, remission Issue Section: Clinical Research Article Arginine vasopressin (AVP) and CRH act synergistically as the primary stimuli for secretion of ACTH, leading to release of cortisol [1, 2]. The role of AVP in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is via release from the parvocellular neurons of the paraventricular nuclei (and possibly also from the magnocellular neurons of the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei), the secretion of which is stimulated by stress [3-6]. AVP release results in both independent stimulation of ACTH release and potentiation of the effects of CRH [3, 7-9]. Additionally, there is evidence that glucocorticoids act by way of negative feedback to suppress AVP secretion [10, 11-20]. Further, parvocellular neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nuclei have been shown to increase AVP production and neurosecretory granule size after adrenalectomy, and inappropriately elevated plasma AVP has been reported in the setting of adrenal insufficiency with normalization of plasma AVP after glucocorticoid administration [21-24]. This relationship of AVP and its effect on the HPA axis has been used in the diagnostic evaluation of Cushing syndrome (CS) [14] and evaluation of remission after transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) in Cushing disease (CD) by administration of desmopressin [25]. Copeptin makes up the C-terminal portion of the AVP precursor pre-pro-AVP. Copeptin is released from the posterior pituitary in stoichiometric amounts with AVP, and because of its longer half-life in circulation, it is a stable surrogate marker of AVP secretion [26-28]. Plasma copeptin has been studied in various conditions of the anterior pituitary. In a study by Lewandowski et al, plasma copeptin was measured after administration of CRH in assessment of HPA-axis function in patients with a variety of pituitary diseases. An increase in plasma copeptin was observed only in healthy subjects but not in those with pituitary disease who had an appropriately stimulated serum cortisol, and the authors concluded that copeptin may be a sensitive marker to reveal subtle alterations in the regulation of pituitary function [7]. Although in this study and others, plasma copeptin was assessed after pituitary surgery, it has not, to the best of our knowledge, been studied as a marker of remission of CD before and after pituitary surgery [7, 29]. In this study, plasma copeptin levels were assessed as a surrogate of AVP secretion before and after TSS for treatment of CD. Because there is evidence that glucocorticoids exert negative feedback on AVP, we hypothesized that there would be a greater postoperative increase in plasma copeptin in those with CD in remission after TSS resulting from resolution of hypercortisolemia and resultant hypocortisolemia compared with those not in remission with persistent hypercortisolemia and continued negative feedback. In other words, we hypothesized that an increase in copeptin could be an early marker of remission of CD after TSS. We aimed to complete this assessment by comparison of the peak postoperative copeptin and change in copeptin from preoperative to peak postoperative copeptin for those in remission vs not in remission postoperatively. Subjects and Methods Subjects Adult and pediatric patients with CD who presented at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development under protocol 97-CH-0076 and underwent TSS between March 2016 and July 2019 were included in the study. Exclusion criteria included a prior TSS within 6 weeks of the preoperative plasma copeptin sample or a preoperative diagnosis of diabetes insipidus, renal disease, or cardiac failure. Written informed consent was provided by patients aged 18 years and older and by legal guardians for patients aged < 18 years to participate in this study. Written informed assent was provided by patients aged 7 years to < 18 years. The 97-CH-0076 study (Investigation of Pituitary Tumors and Related Hypothalamic Disorders) has been approved by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development institutional review board. Clinical and Biochemical Data Clinical data were extracted from electronic medical records. Age, sex, body weight, body mass index (BMI), pubertal stage (in pediatric patients only), and history of prior TSS were obtained preoperatively during the admission for TSS. Clinical data obtained postoperatively included TSS date, histology, development of central diabetes insipidus (DI) or (SIADH), time from TSS to most recent follow-up, and clinical remission status at postoperative follow-up. Preoperatively, serum sodium, 24-hour urinary free cortisol (UFC), UFC times the upper limit of normal (UFC × ULN), midnight (MN) serum cortisol, MN plasma ACTH, and 8 AM plasma ACTH were collected. Postoperatively, serum sodium, serum and urine osmolality, urine specific gravity, serum cortisol, and plasma ACTH were collected. For serum cortisol values < 1 mcg/dL, a value of 0.5 mcg/dL was assigned for the analyses; for plasma ACTH levels < 5 pg/mL, a value of 2.5 pg/mL was assigned. Additionally, plasma copeptin levels were obtained preoperatively and on postoperative days (PODs) 1 through 8 after TSS at 8:00 AM. Peak postoperative copeptin was the highest plasma copeptin on PODs 1 through 8. The delta copeptin (Δcopeptin) was determined by subtracting the preoperative copeptin from the peak postoperative copeptin; hence, a positive change indicated a postoperative increase in plasma copeptin. Plasma copeptin was measured using an automated immunofluorescent sandwich assay on the BRAHMS Kryptor Compact PLUS Copeptin-proAVP. The limit of detection for the assay was 1.58 pmol/L, 5.7% intra-assay coefficient of variation, and 11.2% inter-assay coefficient of variation, with a lower limit of analytical measurement of 2.8 pmol/L. For those with multiple preoperative plasma copeptin values within days before surgery, an average of preoperative copeptin levels was used for analyses. Diagnosis of CD was based on guidelines published by the Endocrine Society and as previously described for the adult and pediatric populations [30, 31]; diagnosis was further confirmed by either histologic identification of an ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma in the resected tumor specimen, decrease in cortisol and ACTH levels postoperatively, and/or clinical remission after TSS at follow-up evaluation. All patients were treated with TSS at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center by the same neurosurgeon. Remission after surgical therapy was based on serum cortisol of < 5 μg/dL during the immediate postoperative period, improvement of clinical signs and symptoms of cortisol excess at postoperative follow up, nonelevated 24-hour UFC at postoperative follow-up, nonelevated midnight serum cortisol at postoperative follow up when available, and continued requirement for glucocorticoid replacement at 3 to 6 months’ postoperative follow-up. Diagnosis of SIADH was based on development of hyponatremia (serum sodium < 135 mmol/L) and oliguria (urine output < 0.5 mL/kg/h). Diagnosis of DI was determined by development of hypernatremia (serum sodium > 145 mmol/L), dilute polyuria (urine output > 4 mL/kg/h), elevated serum osmolality, and low urine osmolality. Statistical Analyses Results are presented as median (interquartile range [IQR], calculated as 25th percentile-75th percentile) or mean ± SD, as appropriate, and frequency (percentage). Where appropriate, we compared results using parametric or nonparametric testing; however, the median (IQR) and the mean ± SD were both reported to allow for comparisons with the appropriate testing noted. Subgroup analyses were completed comparing those who developed water balance disorders included patients who developed DI only (but not SIADH), those who developed SIADH only (but not DI), and those with no water balance disorder; hence, for these subgroup analyses, those who developed both DI and SIADH postoperatively (n = 4) were excluded. Preoperative copeptin, peak postoperative copeptin, and Δcopeptin were compared between those with and without remission at follow-up, using either t test or Wilcoxon rank-sum test, depending on the distribution of data. These were done in all patients combined, as well as within each subgroup. The same tests were used for comparing other continuous variables (eg, age, BMI SD score [SDS], cortisol excess measures) between those with and without remission. Categorical data (eg, sex, Tanner stage) were analyzed using the Fisher exact test. Comparisons of copeptin levels among the subgroups (DI, SIADH, neither) were carried out using mixed models and the Kruskal-Wallis test, as appropriate. Post hoc pairwise comparisons were adjusted for multiplicity using the Bonferroni correction, and as applicable, only corrected P values are reported. Mixed models for repeated measures also analyzed copeptin, serum sodium, and cortisol data for PODs 1 through 8. In addition, maximum likelihood estimation (GENMOD) procedures analyzed the effects of copeptin and serum sodium on the remission at follow-up. Correlation analyses were done with Spearman ρ. All analyses were tested for the potential confounding effects of age, sex, BMI SDS, and pubertal status, and were adjusted accordingly. For plasma copeptin reported as < 2.8 pmol/L, a value of 1.4 pmol/L (midpoint of 0 and 2.8 pmol/L) was used; sensitivity analyses repeated all relevant comparisons using the threshold limit of 2.8 pmol/L instead of 1.4 pmol/L. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% CIs, other magnitudes of the effect, data variability, and 2-sided P values provided the statistical evidence for the conclusions. Statistical analyses were performed in SAS version 9.4 software (SAS Institute, Inc, Cary, NC). Results Patient Characteristics Forty-four adult and pediatric patients, aged 7 to 55 years (77.2% were < 18 years old), with CD were included in the study. The cohort included 28 female patients (64%), and the median BMI SDS was 2.2 (1.1-2.5). Thirty-four percent (15/44) had prior pituitary surgery (none within the prior 6 weeks). Seventy-five percent (33/44) had postoperative follow-up evaluations available, with median follow-up of 13.5 months (11.3-16.0). Of those 33 patients, 85% were determined to be in remission at follow-up. Comparing those in remission vs no remission, there was no difference in age, sex, BMI SDS, pubertal status (in pediatric ages only), preoperative measures of cortisol excess (UFC × ULN, PM serum cortisol, MN plasma ACTH, AM plasma ACTH), duration of follow-up, or development of DI or SIADH. There was a lower postoperative serum cortisol nadir in those in remission at follow-up compared with those not in remission at follow-up, as expected, because a postoperative serum cortisol < 5 μg/dL was included in defining remission status. Postoperatively, 8/44 (18%) developed DI, 13/44 (30%) developed SIADH, 4/44 (9%) developed both DI and SIADH, and 19/44 (43%) developed no water balance disorder (Table 1). There were no differences by remission status when assessing these subgroups (ie, DI, SIADH, and no water balance disorder) separately. Table 1. Demographic and clinical characteristics of subjects All subjects, n = 44 All subjects by remission status, n = 33 All subjects by remission status, excluding those with DI or SIADH, n = 13 Remission, n = 28 No remission, n = 5 P Remission, n = 10 No remission, n = 3 P Age, median (range), y 14.5 (7-55) 17.4 ± 10.7 14.5 (12.5-17.5) 15.6 ± 13.2 11.0 (9.0-12.0) 0.11 13.7 ± 3.1 14.0 (13.0-15.0) 19.7 ± 16.8 11.0 (9.0-39.0) 0.60a Sex  Female 28 (64%) 22 (78.6%) 3 (60.0%) 0.57 9 (90.0%) 2 (66.7%) 0.42 BMI SDS 2.2 (1.1-2.5) 1.7 ± 1.0 2.0 (0.9-2.5) 2.2 ± 0.4 2.2 (2.1-2.3) 0.70 1.7 ± 1.1 2.0 (0.7-2.5) 2.0 ± 0.4 2.1 (1.5-2.3) 0.65a Pubertal status Female (n = 19) (n = 15) (n = 2) 0.51 (n = 8) (n = 1) 0.44   Tanner 1-2 6 4 (26.7%) 1 (50.0%) 3 (37.5%) 1 (25.0%)   Tanner 3-5 13 11 (73.3%) 1 (50.0%) 5 (62.5%) 0 Male (n = 14) (n = 5) (n = 2) (n = 1) (n = 1) --- Testicular volume < 12, mL 10 4 (80.0%) 2 (10.00%) 1 (100.0%) 1 (100.0%) Testicular volume ≥ 12, mL 4 1 (20.0%) 0 1.0 0 0 Preoperative UFC ULN 3.3 (1.2-6.1) 4.9 ± 6.1 2.6 (1.0-7.6) 3.2 ± 1.3 3.7 (3.0-3.9) 0.70 7.2 ± 8.4 3.9 (1.8-9.1) 3.8 ± 0.7 3.9 (3.0-4.4) 0.93 Preoperative PM cortisol 11.9 (9.2-14.8) 13.3 ± 4.7 12.2 (9.2-16.8) 10.8 ± 2.1 11.5 (9.0-11.6) 0.30 13.3 ± 6.0 11.2 (8.4-16.5) 11.1 ± 2.6 11.6 (8.3-13.6) 0.57a Preoperative MN ACTH 43.4 (29.3-51.6) 44.2 ± 25.5 46.1 (27.6-50.5) 40.9 ± 15.3 11.5 (9.0-11.6) 0.74 36.6 ± 16.6 37.4 (29.1-48.8) 34.0 ± 9.4 39.3 (23.1-39.5) 0.67 Preoperative AM ACTH 44.6 (31.4-60.5) 46.9 ± 28.9 44.0 (29.8-56.2) 48.6 ± 28.8 58.7 (21.7-60.5) 0.84 35.2 ± 16.2 40.3 (28.0-44.0) 45.4 ± 24.6 58.7 (17.0-60.5) 0.41a Postoperative cortisol nadir 0.5 (0.5-0.5) 0.7 ± 0.7 0.5 (0.5-0.5) 7.8 ± 6.6 5.2 (2.2-12.3) <0.001 0.6 ± 0.3 0.5 (0.5-0.5) 8.1 ± 7.9 5.2 (2.1-17.0) 0.003 Duration of follow-up 13.5 (11.3-16.0) 15.3 ± 7.9 14.0 (12.0-16.5) 14.0 ± 13.0 11.0 (6.0-14.0) 0.30 18.6 ± 11.2 15.5 (12.0-27.0) 16.7 ± 17.2 11.0 (3.0-36.0) 0.82a DI only 8 (18%) 7/8 (87.5%) 1/8 (12.5%) 0.91 --- --- --- SIADH only 13 (30%) 8/9 (88.9%) 1/9 (11.1%) Neither DI/SIADH 19 (43%) 10/13 (76.9%) 3/13 (23.1%) Both DI and SIADH 4 (9%) 3/3 (100%) 0/3 Demographic and clinical characteristics of all subjects (n = 44) with Cushing disease. Data are also presented by remission status for all subjects with postoperative follow-up (n = 33) and by remission status after excluding those who developed DI or SIADH postoperatively with postoperative follow-up (n = 13). Both median (IQR) and mean ± SD reported to allow for comparisons, with P value provided using appropriate testing depending on distribution of data sets. Data are mean ± SD, median (25th-75th IQR), or frequency (percentage) are reported, except for age, which is presented as median (range). Abbreviations: AM, 7:30-8 PM; BMI, body mass index; DI, diabetes insipidus; IQR, interquartile range; MN, midnight; N/A, not applicable; SDS, SD score; SIADH, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuresis; UFC, urinary free cortisol; ULN, upper limit of normal. p-values below the threshold of 0.05 are in bold. aP value indicates comparison using parametric testing, as appropriate for normally distributed data. Open in new tab Preoperative copeptin levels were higher in males (7.0 pmol/L [5.1-9.6]) than in females (4.0 pmol/L [1.4-5.8], P = 0.004) (Fig. 1). Age was inversely correlated with preoperative copeptin (rs = -0.35, P = 0.030) and BMI SDS was positively correlated with preoperative copeptin (rs = 0.54, P < 0.001) (Fig. 2). Figure 1. Open in new tabDownload slide Preoperative plasma copeptin and sex. Preoperative plasma copeptin in all patients, comparing by sex. A higher preoperative plasma copeptin was found in males (7.0 pmol/L [5.1-9.6]) than in females (4.0 pmol/L [1.4-5.8], P = 0.004). Horizontal lines = median. Whiskers = 25th and 75th interquartile ranges. Figure 2. Open in new tabDownload slide Preoperative plasma copeptin and BMI SDS. Association of preoperative plasma copeptin and BMI SDS in all patients. A BMI SDS was positively associated with a preoperative plasma copeptin (rs = 0.54, P < 0.001). Shaded area = 95% confidence interval. Copeptin Before and After Transsphenoidal Surgery for CD Among the 33 patients with postoperative follow-up, there was no difference in peak postoperative copeptin for patients in remission vs those not in remission (6.1 pmol/L [4.3-12.1] vs 7.3 pmol/L [5.4-8.4], P = 0.88). There was also no difference in the Δcopeptin for those in remission vs not in remission (2.3 pmol/L [-0.5 to 8.2] vs 0.1 pmol/L [-0.1 to 2.2], P = 0.46) (Fig. 3). Including all subjects, the mean preoperative copeptin was 5.6 pmol/L (±3.4). For patients with follow-up, there was no difference in preoperative copeptin for those in remission (4.8 pmol/L [±2.9]) vs no remission (6.0 pmol/L [±2.0], P = 0.47). POD 1 plasma copeptin ranged from < 2.8 to 11.3 pmol/L. Figure 3. Open in new tabDownload slide (A) Peak postoperative plasma copeptin in all patients, comparing those in remission with no remission (6.1 pmol/L [4.3-12.1] vs 7.3 pmol/L [5.4-8.4], P = 0.88). (B) ΔCopeptin (preoperative plasma copeptin subtracted from postoperative peak plasma copeptin) in all patients, comparing those in remission with no remission (2.3 pmol/L [-0.5 to 8.2] vs 0.1 pmol/L [-0.1 to 2.2], P = 0.46). Horizontal lines = median. Whiskers = 25th and 75th interquartile ranges. When those who developed DI or SIADH were excluded, there was no difference in peak postoperative copeptin in those in remission vs no remission (10.2 pmol/L [6.9-21.0] vs 5.4 pmol/L [4.6-7.3], P = 0.20). However, because the distribution of the peak postoperative copeptins was borderline normally distributed, parametric testing was also completed for this analysis, which showed a higher peak postoperative copeptin in remission (14.6 pmol/L [±10.9]) vs no remission (5.8 [±1.4], P = 0.03). There was no difference in the Δcopeptin for those in remission vs not in remission (5.1 pmol/L [0.3-19.5] vs 1.1 pmol/L [-0.1 to 2.2], P = 0.39) (Fig. 4). Preoperative copeptin was not different for those in remission (4.7 pmol/L [±2.4]) vs no remission (4.9 pmol/L [±20.3], P = 0.91). There was no association between serum cortisol and plasma copeptin over time postoperatively (Fig. 5). Figure 4. Open in new tabDownload slide (A) Peak postoperative plasma copeptin excluding those who developed DI or SIADH, comparing those in remission with no remission (10.2 pmol/L [6.9-21.0] vs 5.4 pmol/L [4.6-7.3], P = 0.20). (B) ΔCopeptin (preoperative plasma copeptin subtracted from postoperative peak plasma copeptin) excluding those who developed DI or SIADH, comparing those in remission with no remission (5.1 pmol/L [0.3-19.5] vs 1.1 pmol/L [-0.1 to 2.2], P = 0.39). Horizontal lines = median. Whiskers = 25th and 75th interquartile ranges. Figure 5. Open in new tabDownload slide Plasma copeptin and serum cortisol vs postoperative day for patients who did not develop DI or SIADH. Plasma copeptin (indicated by closed circle) and serum cortisol (indicated by “x”). Results shown as (median, 95% CI). All analyses here were repeated adjusting for serum sodium, and there were no differences by remission status for preoperative, peak postoperative, or Δcopeptin for all subjects or after excluding those who developed a water balance disorder (data not shown). Copeptin and Water Balance Disorders As expected, peak postoperative copeptin appeared to be different among patients who developed DI, SIADH, and those without any fluid balance disorder (P = 0.029), whereas patients with DI had lower median peak postoperative copeptin (4.4 pmol/L [2.4-6.9]) than those who developed no fluid abnormality (10.0 pmol/L [5.4-16.5], P = 0.04), the statistical difference was not present after correction for multiple comparisons (P = 0.13). Peak postoperative copeptin of patients with SIADH was 9.4 pmol/L (6.5-10.4) and did not differ from patients with DI (P = 0.32) or those with no fluid abnormality (P = 1.0). There was a difference in Δcopeptin levels among these subgroups (overall P = 0.043), which appeared to be driven by the lower Δcopeptin in those who developed DI (-1.2 pmol/L [-2.6 to 0.1]) vs in those with neither DI or SIADH (3.1 pmol/L [0-9.6], P = 0.05). However, this pairwise comparison did not reach statistical significance, even before correction for multiple comparisons (P = 0.16) (Fig. 6). Preoperative copeptin levels were also not different among the subgroups (P = 0.54). Figure 6. Open in new tabDownload slide (A) Peak postoperative plasma copeptin, comparing those who developed DI, SIADH, or neither (P = 0.029 for comparison of all 3 groups). (B) ∆ Copeptin (preoperative plasma copeptin subtracted from postoperative peak plasma copeptin), comparing those who developed DI, SIADH, or neither (P = 0.043 for comparison of all 3 groups). Horizontal lines = median. Whiskers = 25th and 75th interquartile ranges. Top brackets = pairwise comparisons. P values presented are after Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. Association of Sodium and Copeptin Longitudinal data, adjusting for subgroups (ie, DI, SIADH, neither), were analyzed. As expected, there was a group difference (P = 0.003) in serum sodium over time (all DI was missing preoperative serum sodium), with the difference being driven by DI vs SIADH (P = 0.007), and SIADH vs neither (P = 0.012). There was no group difference in plasma copeptin over POD by water balance status (P = 0.16) over time (Fig. 7). There was also no effect by remission status at 3 to 6 months for either serum sodium or plasma copeptin. Figure 7. Open in new tabDownload slide (A) Serum sodium and (B) plasma copeptin by POD and water balance status longitudinal data, adjusting for subgroups (ie, DI, SIADH, neither). Data points at point 0 on the x-axis indicate preoperative values. As expected, there was a group difference (P = 0.003) in serum sodium over time (all with DI were missing preoperative serum sodium), with the difference being driven by DI vs SIADH (P = 0.007), and SIADH vs neither (P = 0.012). There was no group difference in plasma copeptin over POD by water balance status (P = 0.16) over time. Higher serum sodium levels from PODs 1 through 8 itself decreased the odds of remission (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.42-0.73; P < 0.001) in all CD patients. Copeptin levels from these repeated measures adjusting for serum sodium did not correlate with remission status at 3 to 6 months’ follow-up (P = 0.38). There were no differences in preoperative, peak postoperative, or delta sodium levels by remission vs no remission in all patients and in those with no water balance disorders. Discussion AVP and CRH act synergistically to stimulate the secretion of ACTH and ultimately cortisol [1, 2], and there is evidence that glucocorticoids act by way of negative feedback to suppress AVP secretion [10, 11-20]. Therefore, we hypothesized that a greater postoperative increase in plasma copeptin in those with CD in remission after TSS because of resolution of hypercortisolemia and resultant hypocortisolemia, compared with those not in remission with persistent hypercortisolemia and continued negative feedback, would be observed. Although a clear difference in peak postoperative and Δcopeptin was not observed in this study, a higher peak postoperative copeptin was found in those in remission after excluding those who developed DI/SIADH when analyzing this comparison with parametric testing, and it is possible that we did not have the power to detect a difference by nonparametric testing, given our small sample size. Therefore, postoperative plasma copeptin may be a useful early marker to predict remission of CD after TSS. The utility of this test may be limited to those who do not develop water balance disorders postoperatively. If a true increase in copeptin occurs for those in remission after treatment of CD, it is possible that this could be due to the removal of negative feedback from cortisol excess on pre-pro-AVP secretion, as hypothesized in this study. However, it is also possible that other factors may contribute to an increase in copeptin postoperatively, including from the stress response of surgery and postoperative hypocortisolism and resultant stimulation of pre-pro-AVP secretion from these physical stressors and/or from unrecognized SIADH. It was anticipated that more severe hypercortisolism to be negatively correlated with preoperative plasma copeptin because of greater negative feedback on AVP. However, no association was found between preoperative plasma copeptin and markers of severity of hypercortisolism (MN cortisol, AM ACTH, UFC × ULN) in this study. Similarly, we would expect that the preoperative plasma copeptin would be lower compared with healthy individuals. However, comparisons of healthy individuals may be difficult because the fluid and osmolality status at the time of the sample could influence the plasma copeptin, and depending on those factors, copeptin could be appropriately low. A healthy control group with whom to compare the preoperative values was not available for this study, and the thirsted state was not standardized for the preoperative copeptin measurements. Future studies could be considered to determine if preoperative plasma copeptin is lower in patients with CD, or other forms of CS, compared with healthy subjects, with all subjects thirsted for an equivalent period. Further, if preoperative plasma copeptin is found to be lower in thirsted subjects with CS than a thirsted healthy control group, the plasma copeptin could potentially be a diagnostic test to lend support for or against the diagnosis of endogenous CS. In the comparisons of those who developed DI, SIADH, or neither, no difference was found in the Δcopeptin. Peak copeptin was lower in DI compared with those without DI or SIADH (but not different from SIADH). Again, it is possible that there is a lower peak postoperative copeptin and change in copeptin in those with DI, but we may not have had the power to detect this in all of our analyses. These comparisons of copeptin among those with or without water balance disorders postoperatively are somewhat consistent with a prior study showing postoperative copeptin as a good predictor of development of DI, in which a plasma copeptin < 2.5 pmol/L measured on POD 0 accurately identified those who developed DI, and plasma copeptin > 30 pmol/L ruled out the development of DI postoperatively [29]. In the current study, 3 of 6 subjects with DI had a POD 1 plasma copeptin < 2.5 pmol/L, and none had a POD 1 plasma copeptin > 30 pmol/L. However, the study by Winzeler et al found that copeptin measured on POD 0 (within 12 hours after surgery) had the greatest predictive value, and POD 0 plasma copeptin was not available in our study. Further, we used the preoperative, peak, and delta plasma copeptin for analyses, so the early low copeptin levels may not have been captured in our data and analyses. Additionally, this study revealed that increasing levels of serum sodium have lower odds of remission. Those who have an ACTH-producing adenoma that is not identified by magnetic resonance imaging and visual inspection intraoperatively have lower rates of remission and are more likely to have greater manipulation of the pituitary gland intraoperatively [32-36], and the latter may result in greater damage to the pituitary stalk or posterior pituitary, increasing the risk for development of DI and resultant hypernatremia. A higher preoperative copeptin was associated with male sex and increasing BMI SDS. Increasing preoperative copeptin was also found in pubertal boys compared with pubertal girls, with no difference in copeptin between prepubertal boys and girls. It is particularly interesting to note that these associations were only in the preoperative plasma copeptin levels, but not the postoperative peak copeptin or Δcopeptin. Because the association of higher plasma in adult males and pubertal males in comparison to adult females and pubertal females, respectively, have been reported by others [26, 37-40], it raises the question of a change in the association of sex and BMI with plasma copeptin in the postoperative state. An effect of BMI or sex was not found by remission status, so it does not seem that the postoperative hypocortisolemic state for those in remission could explain this loss of association. However, this study may not have been powered to detect this. Strengths of this study include the prospective nature of the study. Further, this is the first study assessing the utility of copeptin to predict remission after treatment of CD. Limitations of this study include the small sample size because of the rarity of the condition, difficulty in clinically diagnosing DI and SIADH, potential effect of post-TSS fluid balance disorders (particularly for those who may have developed transient partial DI or transient SIADH), lack of long-term follow-up, lack of any postoperative follow-up in 11 of the 44 total subjects, as well the observational nature of the study. Further, it is possible that pubertal status, sex, and BMI may have affected copeptin levels, which may have not been consistently detected because of lack of power. Lack of data on the timing of hydrocortisone replacement is an additional limitation of this study because postoperative glucocorticoid replacement could affect AVP secretion via negative feedback. Additional studies are needed to assess to further assess the role of vasopressin and measurement of copeptin in patients before and after treatment of CD. A clear difference in peak postoperative plasma copeptin as an early marker to predict remission of CD after TSS was not found. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to further evaluate postoperative plasma copeptin as an early marker to predict remission of CD, though the utility of this test may be limited to those who do not develop water balance disorders postoperatively. Future studies comparing copeptin levels before and after treatment of adrenal CS would be of particular interest because this would minimize the risk of postoperative DI or SIADH which also influence copeptin levels. Additionally, comparison of thirsted preoperative plasma copeptin in those with endogenous CS and thirsted plasma copeptin in healthy controls could potentially provide evidence of whether or not preoperative plasma copeptin is lower in patients with CD, or other forms of CS, compared with healthy subjects. Further, if this is found to be true, it could potentially be a diagnostic test to lend support for or against endogenous CS. Abbreviations AVP arginine vasopressin BMI body mass index CD Cushing disease CS Cushing syndrome DI diabetes insipidus HPA hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal IQR interquartile range MN midnight OR odds ratio POD postoperative day SDS SD score SIADH syndrome of inappropriate antidiuresis TSS transsphenoidal surgery UFC urinary free cortisol ULN upper limit of normal Acknowledgments The authors thank the patients and their families for participating in this study. Funding This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health. Disclosures C.A.S. holds patents on technologies involving PRKAR1A, PDE11A, GPR101, and related genes, and his laboratory has received research funding support by Pfizer Inc. for investigations unrelated to this project. C.A.S. is associated with the following pharmaceutical companies: ELPEN, Inc., H. Lunbeck A/S, and Sync. Inc. Clinical Trial Information ClinicalTrials.gov registration no. NCT00001595 (registered November 4, 1999). Data Availability Some or all datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society 2022. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US. From https://academic.oup.com/jes/article/6/6/bvac053/6564309?login=false
  2. An analysis of nationwide data from Sweden provides an overview of the increased risk of death associated with Cushing's disease was present even after biochemical remission. New data from an analysis of patient data over nearly 30 years suggests the increased risk of mortality associated with Cushing’s disease persists even after treatment. A 4:1 matched analysis comparing data from 371 patients with Cushing’s disease with 1484 matched controls, indicated risk of mortality was 5-fold greater among those not in remission compared to matched controls, but even those in remission at the last follow-up were at a 50% greater risk of mortality compared to controls. “To our knowledge, this is the first study that investigated mortality in an unselected cohort of patients treated for Cushing’s disease and followed up in comparison to mortality in matched controls. The mortality rate was more than doubled in patients with Cushing’s disease, and not being in remission was a strong predictor of premature death,” wrote investigators. With a lack of consensus surrounding the impact of biochemical remission on life expectancy in patients with Cushing’s disease, a team of investigators from multiple institutions in Sweden designed their study with the intent of assessing this association with mortality in a time-to-event analysis of an unselected nationwide Cushing’s disease cohort. Using the Swedish Pituitary Registry, investigators identified 371 patients with Cushing’s disease for inclusion in their analysis. The Swedish Pituitary Register is a nationwide registry that collected data on the majority of Swedish patients with Cushing’s disease. For the current study, investigators included all patients with Cushing’s disease from the register diagnosed between May 1991-September 2018 and followed these patients until the date of death, date of emigration, or December 26, 2018. From the register, investigators obtained data related to date of diagnosis, age, sex, treatment, and biochemical remission status evaluations. The median age at diagnosis was 44 (IQR, 32-56) years and the median follow-up was 10.6 (IQR, 5.7-18) years. The remissions rates for the study cohort were 80%, 92%, 96%, 91%, and 97% at the 1-, 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year follow-ups, respectively. These patients were matched in a 4:1 based on age, sex, and residential area at the diagnosis data, yielding a cohort of 1484 matched controls. Upon analysis, the overall risk of mortality was greater among those with Cushing’s disease compared to the matched controls (HR, 2.1 [95% CI, 1.5-2.8]). Investigators pointed out increased risk was observed among patients in remission at the last follow-up (n=303; HR, 1.5 [95% CI, 1.02-2.2]), those in remission after a single pituitary surgery (n=177; HR, 1.7 [95% CI, 1.03-2.8]), and those not in remission (n=31; HR, 5.6 [95% CI, 2.7-11.6]). Additionally, results indicated cardiovascular disease and infections were the most overrepresented cases of death, accounting for 32 and 12 of the 66 total instances of mortality. “The findings of the present study confirm and complement previous findings of increased overall mortality in Cushing’s disease patients, having a more than doubled HR for death compared to matched controls. Most importantly, an increased HR persisted among patients who had been successfully treated and reached a Cushing’s disease biochemical cure,” investigators added. This study, “Increased mortality persists after treatment of Cushing’s disease: A matched nationwide cohort study,” was published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. From https://www.endocrinologynetwork.com/view/medicaid-expansion-under-aca-may-have-reduced-rate-of-major-diabetes-related-amputations
  3. Braun LT, Fazel J, Zopp S Journal of Bone and Mineral Research | May 22, 2020 This study was attempted to assess bone mineral density and fracture rates in 89 patients with confirmed Cushing's syndrome at the time of diagnosis and 2 years after successful tumor resection. Researchers ascertained five bone turnover markers at the time of diagnosis, 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Via chemiluminescent immunoassays, they assessed bone turnover markers osteocalcin, intact procollagen‐IN‐propeptide, alkaline bone phosphatase, CrossLaps, and TrAcP 5b in plasma or serum. For comparison, they studied 71 gender‐, age‐, and BMI‐matched patients in whom Cushing's syndrome had been excluded. The outcomes of this research exhibit that the phase immediately after surgical remission from endogenous CS is defined by a high rate of bone turnover resulting in a striking net increase in bone mineral density in the majority of patients. Read the full article on Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
  4. In patients with Cushing’s disease, removing the pituitary tumor via an endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) leads to better remission rates than microscopic TSS, according to new research. But regardless of surgical approach, plasma cortisol levels one day after surgery are predictive of remission, researchers found. The study, “Management of Cushing’s disease: Changing trend from microscopic to endoscopic surgery,” was published in the journal World Neurosurgery. Because it improves visualization and accessibility, endoscopic TSS has been gaining popularity over microscopic TSS to remove pituitary tumors in Cushing’s disease patients. Yet, although this surgery has been associated with high remission rates, whether it outperforms microscopic surgery and determining the factors affecting long-term outcomes may further ease disease recurrence after TSS. A team with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences addressed this topic in 104 patients who underwent surgery from January 2009 to June 2017. Among these patients, 47 underwent microscopic surgery and 55 endoscopic surgery. At presentation, their ages ranged from 9 to 55 (mean age of 28). Also, patients had been experiencing Cushing’s symptoms over a mean duration of 24 months. Eighty-seven patients showed weight gain. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes mellitus were among the most common co-morbidities, found in 76 and 33 patients, respectively. Nineteen patients had osteoporosis and 12 osteopenia, which refers to lower-than-normal bone mineral density. As assessed with magnetic resonance imaging, 68 patients had a microadenoma (a tumor diameter smaller than one centimeter) and 27 had a macroadenoma (a tumor one centimeter or larger). Only two patients had an invasive pituitary adenoma. Two patients with larger tumors were operated on transcranially (through the skull). The surgery resulted in total tumor removal in 90 cases (86.5%). A blood loss greater than 100 milliliter was more common with endoscopic than with microscopic TSS. Ten patients developed transient diabetes inspidus, two experienced seizures after surgery, and six of nine patients with macroadenoma and visual deterioration experienced vision improvements after TSS. The incidence of intraoperative leak of cerebrospinal fluid — the liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord — was 23.2%, while that of post-operative leak was 7.7% and was more common in microadenoma than macroadenoma surgery (9.8% vs. 5.0%). Seventeen patients were lost to follow-up and two died due to metabolic complications and infections. The average follow-up was shorter for endoscopic than with microscopic surgery (18 months vs. 35 months). Among the remaining 85 cases, 65 (76.5%) experienced remission, as defined by a morning cortisol level under 5.0 μg/dL, restored circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock, typically impaired in Cushing’s patients), and suppression of serum cortisol to below 2 μg/dl after overnight dexamethasone suppression test. The remission rate was 54.5% in pediatric patients and was higher with endoscopic than with microscopic TSS (88.2% vs. 56.6%). Also, patients with microadenoma showed a trend toward more frequent remission than those with macroadenoma (73.2% vs. 64.3%). Ten of the remaining 20 patients experienced disease recurrence up to 28 months after surgery. Sixteen cases revealed signs of hypopituitarism, or pituitary insufficiency, which were managed with replacement therapy. A subsequent analysis found that morning cortisol level on day one after surgery was the only significant predictor of remission. Specifically, a one-unit increase in cortisol lowered the likelihood of remission by 7%. A cortisol level lower than 10.7 μgm/dl was calculated as predicting remission. Overall, the study showed that “postoperative plasma cortisol level is a strong independent predictor of remission,” the researchers wrote, and that “remission provided by endoscopy is significantly better than microscopic approach.” From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2019/09/24/cortisol-levels-predict-remission-cushings-patients-undergoing-transsphenoidal-surgery/
  5. Cushing’s disease patients in Sweden have a higher risk of death than the general Swedish population, particularly of cardiovascular complications, and that increased risk persists even in patients in remission, a large nationwide study shows. The study, “Overall and disease-specific mortality in patients with Cushing’s disease: a Swedish nationwide study,” was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The outcomes of Cushing’s disease patients have improved with the introduction of several therapeutic approaches, such as minimally invasive surgery and cortisol-lowering therapies. However, mortality is still high, especially among those who do not achieve remission. While currently patients in remission are thought to have a better prognosis, it is still unclear whether these patients still have a higher mortality than the general population. Understanding whether these patients are more likely to die and what risk factors are associated with increased mortality is critical to reduce death rates among Cushing’s patients. A team of Swedish researchers thus performed a retrospective study that included patients diagnosed with Cushing’s disease who were part of the Swedish National Patient Registry between 1987 and 2013. A total of 502 patients with Cushing’s disease were included in the study, 419 of whom were confirmed to be in remission. Most patients (77%) were women; the mean age at diagnosis was 43 years, and the median follow-up time was 13 years. During the follow-up, 133 Cushing’s patients died, compared to 54 expected deaths in the general population — a mortality rate 2.5 times higher, researchers said. The most common causes of death among Cushing’s patients were cardiovascular diseases, particularly ischemic heart disease and cerebral infarctions. However, infectious and respiratory diseases (including pneumonia), as well as diseases of the digestive system, also contributed to the increased mortality among Cushing’s patients. Of those in remission, 21% died, compared to 55% among those not in remission. While these patients had a lower risk of death, their mortality rate was still 90% higher than that of the general population. For patients who did not achieve remission, the mortality rate was 6.9 times higher. The mortality associated with cardiovascular diseases was increased for both patients in remission and not in remission. Also, older age at the start of the study and time in remission were associated with mortality risk. “A more aggressive treatment of hypertension, dyslipidemia [abnormal amount of fat in the blood], and other cardiovascular risk factors might be warranted in patients with CS in remission,” researchers said. Of the 419 patients in remission, 315 had undergone pituitary surgery, 102 had had their adrenal glands removed, and 116 had received radiation therapy. Surgical removal of the adrenal glands and chronic glucocorticoid replacement therapy were associated with a worse prognosis. In fact, glucocorticoid replacement therapy more than twice increased the mortality risk. Growth hormone replacement was linked with better outcomes. In remission patients, a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure had no impact on mortality risk. Overall, “this large nationwide study shows that patients with [Cushing’s disease] continue to have excess mortality even after remission,” researchers stated. The highest mortality rates, however, were seen in “patients with persistent disease, those who were treated with bilateral adrenalectomy and those who required glucocorticoid replacement.” “Further studies need to focus on identifying best approaches to obtaining remission, active surveillance, adequate hormone replacement and long-term management of cardiovascular and mental health in these patients,” the study concluded. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2019/02/28/even-in-remission-cushings-patients-have-excess-mortality-swedish-study-says/
  6. A shorter duration of adrenal insufficiency — when the adrenal gland is not working properly — after surgical removal of a pituitary tumor may predict recurrence in Cushing’s disease patients, a new study suggests. The study, “Recovery of the adrenal function after pituitary surgery in patients with Cushing Disease: persistent remission or recurrence?,” was published in the journal Neuroendocrinology. Cushing’s disease is a condition characterized by excess cortisol in circulation due to a tumor in the pituitary gland that produces too much of the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This hormone acts on the adrenal glands, telling them to produce cortisol. The first-line treatment for these patients is pituitary surgery to remove the tumor, but while success rates are high, most patients experience adrenal insufficiency and some will see their disease return. Adrenal insufficiency happens when the adrenal glands cannot make enough cortisol — because the source of ACTH was suddenly removed — and may last from months to years. In these cases, patients require replacement hormone therapy until normal ACTH and cortisol production resumes. However, the recovery of adrenal gland function may mean one of two things: either patients have their hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis — a feedback loop that regulates ACTH and cortisol production — functioning normally, or their disease returned. So, a team of researchers in Italy sought to compare the recovery of adrenal gland function in patients with a lasting remission to those whose disease recurred. The study included 61 patients treated and followed at the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico of Milan between 1990 and 2017. Patients had been followed for a median of six years (minimum three years) and 10 (16.3%) saw their disease return during follow-up. Overall, the median time to recovery of adrenal function was 19 months, but while most patients in remission (67%) had not yet recovered their adrenal function after a median of six years, all patients whose disease recurred experienced adrenal recovery within 22 months. Among those with disease recurrence, the interval from adrenal recovery to recurrence lasted a median of 1.1 years, but in one patient, signs of disease recurrence were not seen for 15.5 years. Statistical analysis revealed that the time needed for adrenal recovery was negatively associated with disease recurrence, suggesting that patients with sorter adrenal insufficiency intervals were at an increased risk for recurrence. “In conclusion, our study shows that the duration of adrenal insufficiency after pituitary surgery in patients with CD is significantly shorter in recurrent CD than in the persistent remission group,” researchers wrote. “The duration of AI may be a useful predictor for CD [Cushing’s disease] recurrence and those patients who show a normal pituitary-adrenal axis within 2 years after surgery should be strictly monitored being more at risk of disease relapse,” they concluded. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2019/01/29/faster-adrenal-recovery-may-predict-recurrence-cushings-disease/
  7. Cushing’s disease patients whose pituitary tumors carry a USP8 mutation are more likely to achieve remission after surgery than those without such mutations, a retrospective Italian study found. The study, “Clinical characteristics and surgical outcome in USP8-mutated human adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting pituitary adenomas,” was published in the journal Endocrine. Cushing’s disease is a condition where a tumor on the pituitary gland produces too much of the adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), which will act on the adrenal gland to make cortisol in excess. While rare, the condition can be life-threatening, as excess cortisol is linked to an increased risk of infections and cardiovascular complications, along with an increased likelihood of obesity and diabetes. The reasons some patients develop these pituitary adenomas are far from understood, but researchers recently found that some of these patients show mutations in the USP8 gene. These appear to increase EGFR signaling which, in turn, has a stimulatory role for the synthesis of ACTH. But more than influencing the development of Cushing’s disease, researchers believe the USP8 mutations may also determine response to treatment. Thus, a team in Italy examined whether patients with USP8 mutations presented different clinical features and responded differently to the standard surgical procedure, called transsphenoidal pituitary surgery. The study included 92 patients with ACTH-secreting pituitary tumors who received surgery at the neurosurgical department of the Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele in Milan between 1996 and 2016. “All surgical procedures were performed by the same experienced neurosurgeon, which is one of the most important factors affecting early and late surgical outcome of pituitary adenomas,” researchers explained. Among study participants, 22 (23.9%) had mutations in the USP8 gene, but these mutations were significantly more common in women than in men — 28.7% vs. 5.3%. Researchers think estrogens — a female sex hormone — may have a role in the development of mutated pituitary tumors. Overall, the two groups had similar tumor size and aggressiveness and similar ACTH and cortisol levels before surgery. But among those with microadenomas — tumors smaller then 10 mm in diameter — USP8-mutated patients had significantly larger tumor diameters. After receiving surgery, 81.5% of patients achieved surgical remission — deemed as low cortisol levels requiring glucocorticoid replacement therapy, normal cortisol levels in urine, and normal response to a dexamethasone-suppression test. But remission rates were significantly higher among those with USP8 mutations — 100% vs. 75.7%. Also, USP8 mutation carriers required steroid replacement therapy for shorter periods, despite ACTH and cortisol levels being similar among the two groups after surgery. Among patients who entered remission, 12 (16%) saw their disease return. While more patients with USP8 mutations experienced a recurrence — 22.7% vs. 13.2% — this difference was not significant. After five years, 73.8% of UPS8-mutated patients remained alive and recurrence-free, which researchers consider comparable to the 88.5% seen in patients without the mutation. Researchers also tested sex, age at surgery, and post-surgical ACTH and cortisol levels as possible predictors of disease recurrence, but none of these factors was associated with this outcome. “ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas carrying somatic USP8 mutations are associated with a greater likelihood of surgical remission in patients operated on by a single neurosurgeon. Recurrence rates are not related with USP8-variant status,” researchers concluded. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/10/23/cushings-disease-patients-usp8-mutations-more-likely-achieve-remission-after-surgery/
  8. Minimally invasive diagnostic methods and transnasal surgery may lead to remission in nearly all children with Cushing’s disease, while avoiding more aggressive approaches such as radiation or removal of the adrenal glands, a study shows. The study, “A personal series of 100 children operated for Cushing’s disease (CD): optimizing minimally invasive diagnosis and transnasal surgery to achieve nearly 100% remission including reoperations,” was published in the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. Normally, the pituitary produces adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. When a patient has a pituitary tumor, that indirectly leads to high levels of cortisol, leading to development of Cushing’s disease (CD). In transnasal surgery (TNS), a surgeon goes through the nose using an endoscope to remove a pituitary tumor. The approach is the first-choice treatment for children with Cushing’s disease due to ACTH-secreting adenomas — or tumors — in the pituitary gland. Micro-adenomas, defined as less than 4 mm, are more common in children and need surgical expertise for removal. It is necessary to determine the exact location of the tumor before conducting the surgery. Additionally, many surgeons perform radiotherapy or bilateral adrenalectomy (removal of both adrenal glands) after the surgery. However, these options are not ideal as they can be detrimental to children who need to re-establish normal growth and development patterns. Dieter K. Lüdecke, a surgeon from Germany’s University of Hamburg, has been able to achieve nearly 100% remission while minimizing the need for pituitary radiation or bilateral adrenalectomy. In this study, researchers looked at how these high remission rates can be achieved while minimizing radiotherapy or bilateral adrenalectomy. Researchers analyzed 100 patients with pediatric CD who had been referred to Lüdecke for surgery from 1980-2009. Data was published in two separate series — series 1, which covers patients from 1980-1995, and series 2, which covers 1996-2009. All the surgeries employed direct TNS. Diagnostic methods for CD have improved significantly over the past 30 years. Advanced endocrine diagnostic investigations, such as testing for levels of salivary cortisol in the late evening and cortisol-releasing hormone tests, have made a diagnosis of CD less invasive. This is particularly important for excluding children with obesity alone from children with obesity and CD. Methods to determine the precise location of micro-adenomas have also improved. The initial methodology to localize tumors was known as inferior petrosal sinus sampling (IPSS), an invasive procedure in which ACTH levels are sampled from the veins that drain the pituitary gland. In series 1, IPSS was performed in 24% of patients, among which 46% were found to have the wrong tumor location. Therefore, IPSS was deemed invasive, risky, and unreliable for this purpose. All adenomas were removed with extensive pituitary exploration. Two patients in series 1 underwent early repeat surgery; all were successful. Lüdecke introduced intraoperative cavernous sinus sampling (CSS), an improved way to predict location of adenomas. This was found to be very helpful in highly select cases and could also be done preoperatively for very small adenomas. In series 2, CSS was used in only 15% of patients thanks to improved MRI and endocrinology tests. All patients who underwent CSS had correct localization of their tumors, indicating its superiority over IPSS. In series 2, three patients underwent repeat TNS, which was successful. In these recurrences, TNS minimized the need for irradiation. The side effects of TNS were minimal. Recurrence rate in series 1 was 16% and 11% in series 2. While Lüdecke’s patients achieved a remission rate of 98%, other studies show cure rates of 45-69%. Only 4% of patients in these two series received radiation therapy. “Minimally invasive unilateral, microsurgical TNS is important functionally for both the nose and pituitary,” the researchers concluded. “Including early re-operations, a 98% remission rate could be achieved and the high risk of pituitary function loss with radiotherapy could be avoided.” From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/09/04/minimally-invasive-methods-yield-high-remission-in-cushings-disease-children/
  9. 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
  10. I think I knew this already but it's still hard to read in print Functional remission did not occur in most patients with Cushing syndrome who were considered to be in biochemical and clinical remission, according to a study published in Endocrine. This was evidenced by their quality of life, which remained impaired in all domains. The term “functional remission” is a psychiatric concept that is defined as an “association of clinical remission and a recovery of social, professional, and personal levels of functioning.” In this observational study, investigators sought to determine the specific weight of psychological (anxiety and mood, coping, self-esteem) determinants of quality of life in patients with Cushing syndrome who were considered to be in clinical remission. The cohort included 63 patients with hypercortisolism currently in remission who completed self-administered questionnaires that included quality of life (WHOQoL-BREF and Cushing QoL), depression, anxiety, self-esteem, body image, and coping scales. At a median of 3 years since remission, participants had a significantly lower quality of life and body satisfaction score compared with the general population and patients with chronic diseases. Of the cohort, 39 patients (61.9%) reported having low or very low self-esteem, while 16 (25.4%) had high or very high self-esteem. Depression and anxiety were seen in nearly half of the patients and they were more depressed than the general population. In addition, 42.9% of patients still needed working arrangements, while 19% had a disability or cessation of work. Investigators wrote, “This impaired quality of life is strongly correlated to neurocognitive damage, and especially depression, a condition that is frequently confounded with the poor general condition owing to the decreased levels of cortisol. A psychiatric consultation should thus be systematically advised, and [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] therapy should be discussed.” Reference Vermalle M, Alessandrini M, Graillon T, et al. Lack of functional remission in Cushing's Syndrome [published online July 17, 2018]. Endocrine. doi:10.1007/s12020-018-1664-7 From https://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/general-endocrinology/functional-remission-quality-of-life-cushings-syndrome/article/788501/
  11. Early and midterm nonremission after transsphenoidal surgery in people with Cushing’s disease may be predicted by normalized early postoperative values for adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol, study data show. Prashant Chittiboina, MD, MPH, assistant clinical investigator in the neurosurgery unit for pituitary and inheritable diseases at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke at the NIH, and colleagues evaluated 250 patients with Cushing’s disease who received 291 transsphenoidal surgery procedures during the study period to determine remission after the procedure. Patients were treated between December 2003 and July 2016. Early remission was assessed at 10 days and medium-term remission was assessed at 11 months. Early nonremission was predicted by normalized early postoperative values for cortisol (P = .016) and by normalized early postoperative values for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH; P = .048). Early nonremission was further predicted with 100% sensitivity, 39% specificity, 100% negative predictive value and 18% positive predictive value for a cutoff of –12 µg/mL in normalized early postoperative values for cortisol and with 88% sensitivity, 41% specificity, 96% negative predictive value and 16% positive predictive value for a cutoff of –40 pg/mL in normalized early postoperative values for ACTH. Medium-term nonremission was also predicted by normalized early postoperative values for cortisol (P = .023) and ACTH (P = .025). “We evaluated the utility of early postoperative cortisol and ACTH levels for predicting nonremission after transsphenoidal adenomectomy for Cushing’s disease,” the researchers wrote. “Postoperative operative day 1 values at 6 a.m. performed best at predicting early nonremission, albeit with a lower [area under the receiver operating characteristic curve]. Normalizing early cortisol and ACTH values to post-[corticotropin-releasing hormone] values improved their prognostic value. Further prospective studies will explore the utility of normalized very early postoperative day 0 cortisol and ACTH levels in identifying patients at risk for nonremission following [transsphenoidal surgery] in patients with [Cushing’s disease].” – by Amber Cox Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures. From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/in-the-journals/%7B7de200ed-c667-4b48-ab19-256d90a7bbc5%7D/postoperative-acth-cortisol-levels-may-predict-cushings-disease-remission-rate
  12. (HealthDay News) – A number of factors, including the duration of glucocorticoid exposure, older age at diagnosis, and preoperative adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentration, are associated with a higher risk of mortality in patients treated for Cushing's disease (CD), according to research published online Feb. 7 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In an effort to identify predictors of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and recurrence with long-term follow-up, Jessica K. Lambert, MD, of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues performed a retrospective chart review of 346 patients with CD who underwent transsphenoidal adenectomy. The researchers found that the average length of exposure to glucocorticoids was 40 months. The risk of death was higher for those patients who had a longer duration of glucocorticoid exposure, older age at diagnosis, and higher preoperative ACTH concentration. For patients who achieved remission, depressed patients had a higher risk of death. The risk of cardiovascular disease was highest for men, older people, and those with diabetes or depression. "Our study has identified several predictors of mortality in patients with treated CD, including duration of exposure to excess glucocorticoids, preoperative ACTH concentration, and older age at diagnosis. Depression and male gender predicted mortality among patients who achieved remission," the authors write. "These data illustrate the importance of early recognition and treatment of CD. Long-term follow-up, with management of persistent comorbidities by an experienced endocrinologist, is needed even after successful treatment of CD." Abstract Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
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