Polycystic ovarian syndrome and Cushing's syndrome: A persistent diagnostic quandary

Jessica Brzana, Christine G. Yedinak, Nadia Hameed, Adeline Plesiu, Shirley McCartney, Maria Fleseriu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To retrospectively review institutional records of female patients of reproductive age with Cushing's disease (CD) and determine if and how many had been previously diagnosed as having solely polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). To determine whether clinical patterns might be useful in identifying appropriate candidates for hypercortisolism screening in women suspected of PCOS. Study design: The study included 50 patients with pathologically proven CD at Oregon Health & Science University, Northwest Pituitary Center between 2006 and 2011. Physical, clinical, and biochemical features for hypercortisolism were compared. Results: Of 50 patients with pathologically proven CD, 26 were women of reproductive age. Of these, half had previously been diagnosed with and treated initially solely for PCOS. Hirsutism and menstrual abnormalities were more common in the group with an initial PCOS diagnosis than in the group with an initial CD diagnosis. Conclusions: Prolonged exposure to hypercortisolism has been linked with increased mortality and morbidity. Tests for hypercortisolism in all the PCOS cases we report led to an appropriate CD diagnosis. Future research should focus on when and which (if not all) women with suspected PCOS should be tested for hypercortisolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-148
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Cushing's disease
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Diagnosis
  • Hypercortisolism
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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