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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 40

of 'Measurement of cortisol in serum and saliva'

Clinical and laboratory findings and results of therapy in 58 patients with adrenocortical tumors admitted to a single medical center (1951 to 1978).
Bertagna C, Orth DN
Am J Med. 1981;71(5):855.
We reviewed 150 findings in 58 patients (14 males and 44 females) with adrenocortical tumors (26 with adenoma and 32 with carcinoma) admitted to Vanderbilt Hospital during 28 years. In general, our findings agree with those reported by others in multi-institutional series or literature reviews. Adenomas took longer to diagnose than carcinomas. Adenomas usually caused Cushing's syndrome, but two caused virilization and three caused no endocrine syndrome. There was no difference in time required for diagnosis of carcinoma in men or women or in those with Cushing's syndrome, virilization or no endocrine syndrome. Urinary 17-hydroxycorticoid (17-OHCS) levels were similar in those with adenoma and those with carcinoma, but 17-ketosteroid (17-KS) levels were usually less than 20 mg per day in patients with adenoma and greater than 20 mg per day in patients with carcinoma. Adenomas were uniformly independent of endogenous ACTH stimulation, but frequently responded to exogenous ACTH. As with adenomas, no carcinoma demonstrated normal suppression with dexamethasone or normal response to metyrapone, but only one responded to exogenous ACTH. Some patients had no clinical Cushing's syndrome despite high levels of plasma cortisol and urine 17-OHCS. "Nonfunctional" tumors probably merely secreted insufficient steroids to cause signs and symptoms. Patients with adenoma were uniformly cured by surgical tumor resection. Occasional patients with carcinoma enjoyed long survival despite incomplete resection of their tumors, but most patients died of recurrent of metastatic carcinoma within seven years, often within a year of two. Small tumor size and benign histologic features were insufficient to predict benign clinical behavior. The adrenocorticolytic drug, o,p'DDD, offered objective remission for only an occasional patient.