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Cushing's syndrome secondary to ectopic cortisol production by an ovarian carcinoma

N J Marieb, S Spangler, M Kashgarian, A Heimann, M L Schwartz, P E Schwartz
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 1983, 57 (4): 737-40
A 35-yr-old woman had Cushing's syndrome, amenorrhea, and elevated and nonsuppressible levels of urinary and plasma cortisol and urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids. An ovarian carcinoma with extensive metastases was found. Tumor concentrations of ACTH were much lower than those in any previously reported patient with the ectopic ACTH syndrome. Cortisol levels obtained from the venous effluent of tumor-involved ovaries were higher than that in peripheral plasma obtained at the same time. Transient postoperative normalization of plasma and urinary cortisol followed partial tumor removal. Electron microscopic study of the tumor revealed a cell type consistent with steroid-secreting cells. Postmortem examination revealed atrophy of both adrenal glands and no pituitary adenoma.

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