Outcome of Surgical Treatment of 200 Children With Cushing's Disease

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Factors influencing the outcome of surgical treatment of pediatric Cushing's disease (CD) have not been fully established.

The aim of this study was to examine features influencing the outcome of surgery for pediatric CD.

In this prospective observational study, the clinical, imaging, endocrinological, and operative outcomes were analyzed in consecutive patients treated at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1982 through 2010.

The study was conducted in a tertiary referral center.

Two hundred CD patients (106 females, 94 males) were included. Mean age at symptom development was 10.6 ± 3.6 years (range, 4.0 to 19.0 y). Mean age at NIH operation was 13.7 ± 3.7 years. Twenty-seven patients (13%) had prior surgery at another institution. Magnetic resonance imaging identified adenomas in 97 patients (50%). When positive, magnetic resonance imaging accurately defined a discrete adenoma in 96 of the 97 patients (99%), which was more accurate than the use of ACTH ratios during inferior petrosal sinus sampling to determine adenoma lateralization (accurate in 72% of patients without prior surgery). A total of 195 of the 200 patients (98%) achieved remission after surgery (189 [97%] were hypocortisolemic; 6 [3%] were eucortisolemic postoperatively). Factors associated with initial remission (P < .05) included identification of an adenoma at surgery, immunohistochemical ACTH-producing adenoma, and noninvasive ACTH adenoma. Younger age, smaller adenoma, and absence of cavernous sinus wall or other dural invasion were associated with long-term remission (P < .05). A minimum morning serum cortisol of less than 1 µg/dl after surgery had a positive predictive value for lasting remission of 96%.

With rare disorders, such as pediatric CD, enhanced outcomes are obtained by evaluation and treatment at centers with substantial experience. Resection of pituitary adenomas in pediatric CD in that setting can be safe, effective, and durable. Early postoperative endocrine testing predicts lasting remission. Because lasting remission is associated with younger age at surgery, smaller adenomas, and lack of dural invasion, early diagnosis should improve surgical outcome.