Prognostic factors in ectopic Cushing's syndrome due to neuroendocrine tumors: A multicenter study

Maria Vittoria Davi, Elisa Cosaro, Serena Piacentini, Giuseppe Reimondo, Nora Albiger, Giorgio Arnaldi, Antongiulio Faggiano, Giovanna Mantovani, Nicola Fazio, Alessandro Piovesan, Emanuela Arvat, Franco Grimaldi, Letizia Canu, Massimo Mannelli, Alberto Giacinto Ambrogio, Francesca Pecori Giraldi, Chiara Martini, Andrea Lania, Manuela Albertelli, Diego FeroneMaria Chiara Zatelli, Davide Campana, Annamaria Colao, Carla Scaroni, Massimo Terzolo, Laura De Marinis, Sara Cingarlini, Rocco Micciolo, Giuseppe Francia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Evidence is limited regarding outcome of patients with ectopic Cushing's syndrome (ECS) due to neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Design: We assessed the prognostic factors affecting the survival of patients with NETs and ECS. Methods: Retrospective analysis of clinicopathological features, severity of hormonal syndrome, treatments from a large cohort of patients with NETs and ECS collected from 17 Italian centers. Results: Our series included 110 patients, 58.2% female, with mean (±s.d.) age at diagnosis of 49.5 ± 15.9 years. The main sources of ectopic ACTH were bronchial carcinoids (BC) (40.9%), occult tumors (22.7%) and pancreatic (p)NETs (15.5%). Curative surgery was performed in 56.7% (70.2% of BC, 11% of pNETs). Overall survival was significantly higher in BC compared with pNETs and occult tumors (P = 0.033) and in G1-NETs compared with G2 and G3 (P = 0.007). Negative predictive factors for survival were severity of hypercortisolism (P < 0.02), hypokalemia (P = 0.001), diabetes mellitus (P = 0.0146) and distant metastases (P < 0.001). Improved survival was observed in patients who underwent NET removal (P < 0.001). Adrenalectomy improved short-term survival. Conclusions: Multiple factors affect prognosis of ECS patients: type of NET, grading, distant metastases, severity of hypercortisolism, hypokalemia and diabetes mellitus. BCs have the highest curative surgical rate and better survival compared with occult tumors and pNETs. Hypercortisolism plays a primary role in affecting outcome and quality of life; therefore, prompt and vigorous treatment of hormonal excess by NET surgery and medical therapy should be a key therapeutic goal. In refractory cases, adrenalectomy should be considered as it affects outcome positively at least in the first 2 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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