ABSTRACT: Context: Cushing's syndrome may remain unrecognized among patients referred for metabolic syndrome; thus, a proactive screening has been suggested in certain patient populations with features of the disorder. However, conflicting data have been reported on the prevalence of Cushing's syndrome in patients with type 2 diabetes. Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the prevalence of unsuspected Cushing's syndrome among outpatients with type 2 diabetes. Design and Setting: This was a cross-sectional prospective study in 24 diabetes clinics across Italy. Patients: Between June 2006 and April 2008, 813 patients with known type 2 diabetes without clinically overt hypercortisolism were evaluated. Follow-up of the study was closed in September 2010. Patients were not selected for characteristics conferring a higher pretest probability of hypercortisolism. Patients underwent a first screening step with the 1-mg overnight dexamethasone suppression test. Results: Forty patients failed to suppress serum cortisol less than 5.0 μg/dl (138 nmol/liter) and underwent a standard 2-d, 2-mg dexamethasone suppression test, after which six patients (0.6% of the overall series) failed to suppress cortisol less than 1.8 μg/dl (50 nmol/liter), receiving a definitive diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome that was adrenal dependent in five patients. Four patients were cured, being able to discontinue, or reduce, the glucose-lowering agents. Conclusions: The present data do not support widespread screening of patients with type 2 diabetes for Cushing's syndrome; however, the disorder is less rare than previously thought when considering epidemiology of type 2 diabetes. Our results support a case-finding approach in patients with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension despite appropriate treatment.
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 07/2012; 97(10):3467-75. · 6.50 Impact Factor