Nephrolithiasis in Cushing's disease: Prevalence, etiopathogenesis, and modification after disease cure

Antongiulio Faggiano, Rosario Pivonello, Daniela Melis, Mariagiovanna Filippella, Carolina Di Somma, Mario Petretta, Gaetano Lombardi, Annamaria Colao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathogenesis of nephrolithiasis in Cushing's syndrome is still not completely clarified. The current study aimed at investigating prevalence of nephrolithiasis and role of different lithogenic factors in Cushing's disease (CD). Forty-six CD patients (24 with active and 22 with cured disease) and 46 sex-and age-matched controls entered the study. Body mass index, blood pressure, fasting glucose and insulin, serum and urinary creatinine, urea, uric acid, electrolytes, and cystine, urinary volume, pH, oxalate, and citrate levels, and renal ultrasonography (US) were performed in all patients and controls. Nephrolithiasis was found in 50% of active patients, 27.3% of cured patients, and 6.5% of controls (P <0.001). Compared with controls, patients with active disease had a significantly increased prevalence of obesity, arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercalciuria, hypocitraturia, and hyperuricosuria, significantly higher levels of serum and urinary cystine, urinary creatinine, urea, uric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and oxalate, significantly lower levels of urinary citrate levels. Compared with controls, patients cured from CD had a significantly increased prevalence of obesity, systemic arterial hypertension, and diabetes mellitus, whereas urinary citrate was significantly decreased. At multivariate analysis, a significantly increased risk to develop kidney stones was independently associated with urinary excretion of uric acid (odds ratio = 1.6, confidence interval = 1.0-2.5) and systemic arterial blood pressure (odds ratio = 2.6, confidence interval = 1.1-6.6). In conclusion, patients with active CD have an increased prevalence of nephrolithiasis compared with general population, which decreases but not disappears in patients successfully cured from the disease. This complication is likely caused by the synergic effect of different hypercortisolism-dependent metabolic and hemodynamic abnormalities, among which systemic arterial hypertension and excessive urinary uric acid excretion seem to play a pivotal role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2076-2080
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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