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Overview of the treatment of Cushing's syndrome

Lynnette K Nieman, MD
Section Editor
André Lacroix, MD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Martin, MD


The hypercortisolemia in Cushing's syndrome is usually due to a corticotropin (ACTH)-producing pituitary tumor (Cushing's disease), ectopic ACTH secretion by a nonpituitary tumor, or cortisol secretion by an adrenal adenoma or carcinoma. There are also very rare tumors that secrete corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) ectopically, and occasional cases are caused by cortisol secretion by ACTH-independent macronodular or micronodular hyperplasia of the adrenal cortex.

Treatment should be directed, whenever possible, at the primary cause of the syndrome. This topic provides an overview of the various therapeutic options available in the treatment of Cushing's syndrome. A detailed review of therapy for Cushing's disease and some of the primary adrenal causes of hypercortisolism is presented separately.

(See "Primary therapy of Cushing's disease: Transsphenoidal surgery and pituitary irradiation".)

(See "Medical therapy of hypercortisolism (Cushing's syndrome)".)

(See "Persistent or recurrent Cushing's disease: Surgical adrenalectomy".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 28, 2017.
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