Patients with Cushing disease (CD) are at increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). It was surmised, but not conclusively shown that the risk is related to plasma hypercoagulability secondary to the glucocorticoids effect. This study is aimed at detecting hypercoagulability in patients with CD. Case-control study of 48 CD patients and controls enrolled at two Italian clinics for whom we assessed the thrombin-forming-potential in the presence of optimal activation of protein C obtained by adding into the assay system its main endothelial activator, thrombomodulin. These experimental conditions mimic more closely than any other test the in vivo situation. We observed enhanced thrombin-generation in CD patients, as shown by the modification of thrombin-generation parameters [i.e., shortened lag-time and time-to-peak, increased thrombin peak and endogenous thrombin potential (ETP)]. Moreover, the ETP ratio (with/without thrombomodulin), recognized as an index of hypercoagulability, was increased in patients as compared to controls. We attempted to explain such hypercoagulability by measuring both procoagulant and anticoagulant factors, and some other non-coagulation parameters (i.e., neutrophil extracellular traps (NET), recently associated with the VTE risk and/or increased hypercoagulability. We showed that the hypercoagulability in patients with CD is associated with increased levels of factor VIII and NET-related variables. We detected plasma hypercoagulability in patients with CD and found experimental explanation for its occurrence. Whether this hypercoagulability can entirely explain the occurrence of VTE in patients with CD should be investigated by ad-hoc clinical trials. However, until these studies will be available the evidence supports the concept that patients with CD are candidates for antithrombotic prophylaxis.
- Activated partial thromboplastin time
- Factor VIII
- Plasma DNA
- Protein C
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism