Cushing’s Syndrome By: Laura Brown, Sarah Afiz and Nick Olson
What is Cushing’sSyndrome? Cushing’s syndrome is caused by prolonged exposure of the bodies’ tissue to high levels of the hormone cortisol
What is Cortisol? Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands Helps maintain proper glucose metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, insulin released for blood sugar control, immune function and inflammatory response Most importantly cortisol helps the body respond to stress (called the “stress hormone”)
Causes of Cushing’s Majority of the people who suffer from Cushing’s syndrome have had prior use of glucocorticoid hormones -Glucocorticoid hormones are used to prevent transplant rejection as well as treat inflammatory diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
Causes of Cushing’s(cont.) Other causes: Pituitary Adenomas: tumors of pituitary gland Adrenal gland overgrowth or adrenal tumors
Who’s affected? Can affect anyone but the disease is extremely rare Affects 20,000 people in the U.S, and 10-15 million people worldwide Most commonly occurs in females ages 25-50
Symptoms Upper body obesity (rounded face, increased neck fat) Thinning around the arms and legs Delayed growth Easy bruising of skin Purplish-pink stretch marks on the abdomen, thigh, buttocks, arms, and breasts
Symptoms (cont.) High blood sugar, high blood pressure Depression and anxiety Increased hair growth in women Irregular menstrual cycles Bones are fragile, susceptible to fractures easily
Treatments Depending on the reason for cortisol excess, treatments include: 1. Surgery (pituitary/ adrenal gland surgery on tumors – first line approach) 2. Radiation (can take many years to be effective) 3. Chemotherapy 4. Cortisol inhibiting drugs: An example is -Steroidogenesis inhibitor medications such as Mitotane (83% of Cushing patients treated with Mitotane went into remission).
New Treatment Corcept Therapeutics Inc won U.S. approval for a drug known as Korlym that uses the active ingredient of the abortion pill RU-486
Korlym Korlym blocks the binding of cortisol to its receptor Korlym inhibits or reduces the effects of excess cortisol Orphan drug status: Given to drugs discovered for rare diseases. Allows Corcept to have exclusive rights.
Other Facts This disease is not inherited People who are more prone to developing tumors are at greater risk If the disease is not treated, it can be lethal Cushing’s can also lead to heart attacks and strokes 70% of patients with Cushing’s suffer from diabetes.