Background: Ectopic adrenocorticotropic syndrome (EAS) is a rare cause of endogenous ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome, usually associated with severe hypercortisolism as well as comorbidities. Tumor detection is still a challenge and often requires several imaging procedures. In this report, we describe a case of an ectopic ACTH secretion with a misleading localization of the responsible tumor due to a concomitant rectal carcinoma. Case presentation: A 49-year-old man was referred to our Endocrinology Unit due to suspicion of Cushing’s syndrome. His medical history included metastatic rectal adenocarcinoma, diagnosed 5 years ago and treated with adjuvant chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical resection. During follow-up, a thoracic computed tomography scan revealed two pulmonary nodules located in the superior and middle lobes of the right lung with a diameter of 5 and 10 mm, respectively. However, these nodules remained radiologically stable thereafter and were not considered relevant. All biochemical tests were suggestive of EAS (basal ACTH levels: 88.2 ng/L, nv 0–46; basal cortisol levels: 44.2 µg/dl, nv 4.8–19.5; negative response to CRH test and high dose dexamethasone suppression test) and radiological localization of the ectopic ACTH-secreting tumor was scheduled. The CT scan revealed a dimensional increase of the right superior lung nodule (from 5 to 12 mm). [68Ga]-DOTA-TOC PET/CT scan was negative, while [18F]-FDG-PET/CT showed a tracer accumulation in the superior nodule. After a multidisciplinary consultation, the patient underwent thoracic surgery that started with two atypical wedge resections of nodules. Frozen section analyses showed a neuroendocrine tumor on the right middle lobe nodule and a metastatic colorectal adenocarcinoma on the superior lesion. Then, a right superior nodulectomy and a right middle lobectomy with mediastinal lymphadenectomy were performed. The final histopathological examination confirmed a typical carcinoid tumor, strongly positive for ACTH. A post-surgical follow-up showed a persistent remission of Cushing’s syndrome. Conclusions: The present report describes a case of severe hypercortisolism due to EAS not detected by functional imaging methods, in which the localization of ACTH ectopic origin was puzzled by a concomitant metastatic rectal carcinoma. The multidisciplinary approach was crucial for the management of this rare disease.

Case Report: A Challenging Localization of a Pulmonary Ectopic ACTH-Secreting Tumor in a Patient With Severe Cushing’s Syndrome / A.L. Serban, L. Rosso, P. Mendogni, A. Cremaschi, R. Indirli, B. Mantovani, M. Rumi, M. Castellani, A. Chiti, G.A. Croci, G. Mantovani, M. Nosotti, E. Ferrante, M. Arosio. - In: FRONTIERS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY. - ISSN 1664-2392. - 12(2021 Jul 09), pp. 687539.1-687539.7. [10.3389/fendo.2021.687539]

Case Report: A Challenging Localization of a Pulmonary Ectopic ACTH-Secreting Tumor in a Patient With Severe Cushing’s Syndrome

L. Rosso
Secondo
;
M. Rumi;G.A. Croci;M. Nosotti;M. Arosio
Ultimo
2021-07-09

Abstract

Background: Ectopic adrenocorticotropic syndrome (EAS) is a rare cause of endogenous ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome, usually associated with severe hypercortisolism as well as comorbidities. Tumor detection is still a challenge and often requires several imaging procedures. In this report, we describe a case of an ectopic ACTH secretion with a misleading localization of the responsible tumor due to a concomitant rectal carcinoma. Case presentation: A 49-year-old man was referred to our Endocrinology Unit due to suspicion of Cushing’s syndrome. His medical history included metastatic rectal adenocarcinoma, diagnosed 5 years ago and treated with adjuvant chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical resection. During follow-up, a thoracic computed tomography scan revealed two pulmonary nodules located in the superior and middle lobes of the right lung with a diameter of 5 and 10 mm, respectively. However, these nodules remained radiologically stable thereafter and were not considered relevant. All biochemical tests were suggestive of EAS (basal ACTH levels: 88.2 ng/L, nv 0–46; basal cortisol levels: 44.2 µg/dl, nv 4.8–19.5; negative response to CRH test and high dose dexamethasone suppression test) and radiological localization of the ectopic ACTH-secreting tumor was scheduled. The CT scan revealed a dimensional increase of the right superior lung nodule (from 5 to 12 mm). [68Ga]-DOTA-TOC PET/CT scan was negative, while [18F]-FDG-PET/CT showed a tracer accumulation in the superior nodule. After a multidisciplinary consultation, the patient underwent thoracic surgery that started with two atypical wedge resections of nodules. Frozen section analyses showed a neuroendocrine tumor on the right middle lobe nodule and a metastatic colorectal adenocarcinoma on the superior lesion. Then, a right superior nodulectomy and a right middle lobectomy with mediastinal lymphadenectomy were performed. The final histopathological examination confirmed a typical carcinoid tumor, strongly positive for ACTH. A post-surgical follow-up showed a persistent remission of Cushing’s syndrome. Conclusions: The present report describes a case of severe hypercortisolism due to EAS not detected by functional imaging methods, in which the localization of ACTH ectopic origin was puzzled by a concomitant metastatic rectal carcinoma. The multidisciplinary approach was crucial for the management of this rare disease.
Cushing’s syndrome; ectopic ACTH syndrome; hypercortisolism; pulmonary carcinoid; rectal carcinoma
Settore MED/21 - Chirurgia Toracica
Settore MED/13 - Endocrinologia
Settore MED/12 - Gastroenterologia
Settore MED/08 - Anatomia Patologica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/862812
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