Proper treatment of patients with Cushing syndrome depends on knowledge of whether the condition derives from a pituitary or adrenal adenoma or an ectopic tumor that secretes adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Fifty-seven patients with Cushing syndrome were prospectively evaluated to determine whether computed tomography (CT) of the pituitary gland is useful in diagnosing or excluding an ACTH-producing adenoma and in predicting the site of the adenoma within the pituitary gland. Findings on CT scans were normal in 35 of 50 patients with surgically confirmed Cushing disease and in seven patients with ectopic ACTH-producing tumors. Of the 15 patients with Cushing disease for whom CT results were abnormal, eight had macroadenomas and seven had microadenomas. This study demonstrates a low sensitivity (30%) and low diagnostic accuracy (39%) of CT in the detection of ACTH-producing pituitary tumors and indicates the need for alternative methods of confirming the pituitary origin of excessive ACTH secretion in most patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging