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Ectopic ACTH syndrome caused by a bronchial carcinoid tumor responsive to dexamethasone, metyrapone, and corticotropin-releasing factor

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      Abstract

      Cushing's syndrome due to bronchial carcinoid tumors that secrete adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) may be difficult to distinguish from pituitary Cushing's disease, since the responses to dexamethasone and metyrapone are sometimes similar. Recently, the ACTH and cortisol responses to ovine corticotropin-releasing factor (oCRF) have been shown to be different in pituitary Cushing's disease than in Cushing's syndrome due to other causes. It is not known if the response to oCRF can distinguish pituitary Cushing's disease from those ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoid tumors that respond to dexamethasone and metyrapone. A case of Cushing's syndrome due to an ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoid is described in which the responses to dexamethasone, metyrapone, and oCRF were indistinguishable from the responses observed in pituitary Cushing's disease. A bronchial carcinoid tumor should be considered even when responses to dexamethasone, metyrapone, and oCRF suggest pituitary Cushing's disease.
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