Reversible pituitary dysfunction in a patient with Cushing's syndrome discovered as adrenal incidentaloma

Kenichi Inagaki, Fumio Otsuka, Tomoko Miyoshi, Naomi Watanabe, Jiro Suzuki, Toshio Ogura, Hirofumi Makino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We report a 45-year-old woman with Cushing's syndrome showing reversible pituitary dysfunction. Left adrenal tumor was incidentally discovered by a screening examination of abdominal computed tomography. Although this patient lacked typical Cushingoid features except hypertension and leg edema, endocrine examinations revealed moderate suppression of plasma ACTH (∼6.3 pg/ml) with relatively high levels of serum cortisol (∼22.9 μg/dl) without normal circadian rhythm. Plasma ACTH failed to respond to either CRH or metyrapone, and dexamethasone failed to suppress her daily steroid production. Surgical removal of left adrenocortical adenoma and 6-month replacement of hydrocortisone have ameliorated both ACTH and cortisol responses to CRH loading test. Postoperative responses of TSH and GH to TRH and GRH, respectively, were two fold higher than the preoperative levels. In contrast, basal and TRH-induced levels of serum PRL were decreased after surgery although both the basal and stimulated PRL levels were markedly high before surgery. In addition, gonadotropin response to GnRH examined in the same ovarian cycle was decreased in accordance with an increase in serum estradiol and progesterone levels after surgery. Improvement of hypercortisolemia even in a moderate case of Cushing's syndrome not only ameliorates hypertension, obesity and glucose intolerance, but also restores the accompanying dysfunctions of anterior pituitary, suggesting the clinical importance of early discovery and treatment of functioning adrenocortical incidentalomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalEndocrine journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH)
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Gonadotropin
  • Hypercortisolemia
  • Incidentaloma
  • Prolactin (PRL)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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