Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) syndrome: two case reports.

  Vol. 44 (6) 2023 Neuro endocrinology letters Case Reports   2023; 44(6): 351-357 PubMed PMID:  37776552    Citation

BACKGROUND: Clinically, the incidence of ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) syndrome (EAS) is often obscured, making it difficult to identify the primary lesion. This can pose challenges in both diagnosing and treating the disease. Therefore, this paper presents two cases of EAS to share insights and guide diagnosis and treatment approaches. DESCRIPTION OF CASES: Case 1 is a male patient aged 71, and Case 2 is a female patient aged 61. EAS was considered for both patients according to the medical history and auxiliary examination results. After the blood glucose and blood potassium were slightly stable, Case 1 received the total right adrenalectomy and the left subtotal adrenalectomy. After the surgery, a positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) was used to identify the primary lesion in Case 1, and the result showed primary neuroendocrine tumors originating from the thymus with metastasis. A chest CT scan with contrast for Case 2 confirmed the presence of multiple soft tissue nodules in both lungs, suspected of being tumor lesions, along with mediastinal lymph node enlargement. A CT-guided lung puncture was not performed due to a progressive decrease in platelets, and the patient died due to severe lung infection eventually. CONCLUSIONS: PET-CT can be an effective method for diagnosing EAS. Early control of hypercortisolism is vital in preventing life-threatening infections in EAS patients.

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