DALLAS Dec. 11, 2007 Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that patients with a mild form of Cushing syndrome, a metabolic disorder caused by adrenal tumors, demonstrate substantial clinical improvement after adrenalectomy.
The study, appearing in the December issue of the journal Surgery, is the largest series of surgical outcomes reported in patients with subclinical Cushing syndrome to date, said Dr. Richard Auchus, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and co-author of the study.
We dont have enough data to come out with a definitive statement that everyone with an adrenal tumor and mild cortisol excess should have the adrenal tumor removed, Dr. Auchus said. We can say, however, that there are many people with large adrenal tumors who, while not meeting classical criteria for Cushing syndrome, nonetheless suffer from the hormonal disorder and will benefit from surgery.
Cushing syndrome occurs when the bodys tissues are exposed to excessive levels of cortisol, a hormone which helps regulate glucose and fat metabolism. Cushing syndrome is caused by tumors of the pituitary or adrenal glands making too much hormone for long periods of time.
Symptoms vary, but most people with Cushings, also called hypercortisolism, have upper body obesity with increased fat around the face and neck. Diabetes, hypertension, thin skin, muscle weakness, bruises and fatigue are also common.
Though the more overt Cushings affects about 1 in every 5,000 to 10,000 people, milder, or subclinical, Cushing syndrome may affect as many as 1 in every 1,000 people in the population, Dr. Auchus said.
In the current study, Dr. Auchus research group analyzed the records of 24 patients who underwent adrenalectomy at UT Southwestern between 2003 and 2006 because of abnormally high cortisol production. Of the 24 patients, nine met the researchers definition of subclinical Cushing
|Contact: Kristen Holland Shear|
UT Southwestern Medical Center