Study Finds That Surgery May be Best for Cushing’s Disease Patients With Unclear MRI Findings

According to a story from the CushieBlog, a recent study has found that a certain surgical procedure may be the best course of treatment for patients with Cushing’s disease whose MRI shows no changes or is inconclusive. The operation, called transsphenoidal surgery, is used to remove pituitary adenomas, a type of tumor that is a common cause of Cushing’s disease.

About Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease is a medical condition that appears as the result of prolonged cortisol exposure. Cushing’s disease is most commonly caused by the use of medications such as corticosteroids, but it can also be caused by abnormalities that cause the body to release more cortisol than usual, such as a tumor affecting the pituitary or adrenal glands. Cushing’s disease is also associated with diabetes, which is a common comorbidity. The syndrome can cause a variety of symptoms that can become more serious over time including cerebral atrophy, hypercholesterolemia, rapid weight gain, baldness, mood instability, depression, hirsutism, sexual dysfunction, muscle and bone weakness, menstrual abnormalities, osteoporosis, hypertension, sleep problems, and immune system suppression, and memory problems. Treatment may include the cessation of drug use when they are the cause, surgery to remove tumors or affected glands, or certain drugs that inhibit cortisol synthesis. To learn more about Cushing’s disease, click here.

About The Study

The MRI is typically used in order to determine if a patient’s disease is the result of a pituitary adenoma. However, the findings of this study suggest that it is possible for these tumors, particularly if they are smaller, to evade detection. Rates of remission following surgery were good regardless of whether an MRI identified a tumor or not. The researchers conducted a study that included 195 patients affected by Cushing’s disease. The study found that the results of an MRI had very little impact on remission rates. Patients that tested positive for small tumors had an 85 percent remission and patients with large tumors had 94 percent. Meanwhile, remission rates for negative or inconclusive MRI results were 75 percent and 73 percent respectively. 

This suggests that the vast majority of patients stand to benefit from surgery. The study was first published in The Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism

 


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