Papers And Originals

Plasma and Urinary 11-Hydroxycorticosteroids in Differential Diagnosis of Cushing's Syndrome

Br Med J 1972; 3 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.3.5817.17 (Published 01 July 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;3:17
  1. D. Mattingly,
  2. Christine Tyler

    Abstract

    Morning plasma 11-hydroxycorticoids, urinary 11-hydroxycorticoids, and urinary 17-oxogenic steroids were measured before and during a dexamethasone suppression test. This consisted in the administration by mouth of 2 mg of dexamethasone daily for 48 hours, followed by 8 mg daily for 48 hours. In addition midnight plasma 11-hydroxycorticoids were measured before the start of the test. The subjects investigated were 21 patients with Cushing's syndrome, 27 obese female patients, 10 female patients with the Stein-Leventhal syndrome, and 8 female patients with idiopathic hirsutism.

    The results showed that the clearest distinction between the groups was made by measurement of the basal urinary 11-hydroxycorticoid excretion, where, in the group of patients with Cushing's syndrome, all the levels were well above the upper limit of normal. In addition raised midnight plasma 11-hydroxycorticoid levels were of great diagnostic value. By using these results together with those of the dexamethasone suppression tests it was possible to make a firm preoperative diagnosis of pituitary-dependent Cushing's syndrome in 90% of patients in this series.