We studied four patients with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-independent hypercortisolism due to bilateral massive enlargement of the adrenal glands. The combined weight of the adrenal glands ranged from 69 to 149 g and the adrenal cortex was replaced in three of four patients by multiple nodules ranging from microscopic to 4 cm in diameter. One patient had massive diffuse enlargement. All patients had low or undetectable levels of serum ACTH, absence of petrosal sinus to peripheral gradients of ACTH in bilateral samples from the inferior petrosal sinuses before and after stimulation by corticotropin releasing hormone, and absence of an adenoma on MR imaging of the pituitary gland. The marked degree of adrenocortical enlargement and absence of ACTH dependency separates this massive macronodular disease from the more common ACTH-dependent macronodular hyperplasia encountered in older patients with pituitary-dependent Cushing disease. All patients required bilateral adrenalectomy to control hypercortisolism. We present the spectrum of nodular adrenal disease associated with hypercortisolism and a differential diagnosis based on morphologic criteria.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GF35400009
View details for PubMedID 1653280