Journal of the Endocrine Society Journal Article

How to Define Non-Functioning Adrenal Tumors

August 17, 2020
 

Cristina Eller-Vainicher, Valentina Morelli, Carmen Aresta, Antonio Stefano Salcuni, Alberto Falchetti, Vincenzo Carnevale, Luca Persani, Alfredo Scillitani, Iacopo Chiodini
Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 4, Issue 8, August 2020, bvaa079
https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvaa079

Abstract

Background

In patients with adrenal incidentalomas (AIs), there is uncertainty on how to rule out hypercortisolism. The occurrence of postsurgical (unilateral adrenalectomy) hypocortisolism (PSH) has been proposed as a proof of the presence of presurgical hypercortisolism in AI patients. The aim of this study was to define the thresholds of cortisol level after the 1 mg overnight dexamethasone suppression test (F-1mgDST), urinary free cortisol (UFC), midnight serum cortisol (MSC), and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) to predict the absence of PSH in AI patients undergoing surgery.

Methods

In 60 patients who underwent AI excision, cortisol secretion was assessed by a low-dose corticotropin stimulation test or insulin tolerance test when needed. We searched for the lowest presurgical value of F-1mgDST, UFC, and MSC and the highest value for ACTH in AI patients with PSH as indexes of normal cortisol secretion.

Results

The lowest values of F-1mgDST, UFC, and MSC and the highest value for ACTH in PSH patients were 1.2 µg/dL (33 nmol/L), 10.4 µg/24 hours (29 nmol/24 hours), 1.2 µg/dL (33 nmol/L), and 26.9 pg/mL (6 pmol/L), respectively, but only F-1mgDST <1.2 µg/dL (33 nmol/L) was able to predict the absence of PSH. Among AI patients with F-1mgDST <1.2 µg/dL (33 nmol/L) no subjects had diabetes mellitus and/or metabolic syndrome, and these subjects tended to have a better metabolic profile than those with F-1mgDST ≥1.2 µg/dL (33 nmol/L)

Conclusion

In AI patients a F-1mgDST <1.2 µg/dL (33 nmol/L) rules out PSH and could be used to exclude hypercortisolism in AI patients.

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