To describe the corticotropin response to long-term octreotide or cabergoline administration in a patient with ectopic corticotropin secretion who underwent adrenalectomy.
We describe the clinical, radiologic, and biochemical findings of the study patient over the course of 18 years.
A 40-year-old woman was evaluated for Cushing syndrome. On the basis of biochemical indices, Cushing disease was diagnosed and pituitary exploration was performed. No cure was achieved. Computed tomography of the chest revealed a right lung nodule due to a lung carcinoid tumor that was then surgically excised. Because of persistent hypercortisolism, total adrenalectomy was performed. Subsequently, corticotropin levels rose dramatically and hyperpigmentation developed while serum cortisol was in the reference range. The patient was treated with octreotide for 3 years and then with cabergoline for 8 years. While taking octreotide, corticotropin values decreased, accompanied by depigmentation and development of signs of adrenal insufficiency, which led to the reinstitution of supplemental hydrocortisone. Cabergoline induced a similar long-lasting effect on the clinical and biochemical parameters observed. Eight years later, she is still treated with cabergoline, and no lung tumor has been detected.
In this patient with ectopic Cushing syndrome, treatment with either octreotide or cabergoline markedly reduced corticotropin levels and hyperpigmentation.
Long-term management with octreotide or cabergoline in ectopic corticotropin hypersecretion: case report and literature review