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Sustained Remission of Cushing's Disease with Mitotane and Pituitary Irradiation

DAVID E. SCHTEINGART, M.D.; HANG S. TSAO, M.S.; CHARLES I. TAYLOR, M.D.; ALAN MCKENZIE, M.D.; RODOLFO VICTORIA, M.D.; and BARBARA A. THERRIEN, M.N.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to David E. Schteingart, M.D.; University Hospital, Room S3450/Box 55; Ann Arbor, MI 48109.


Ann Arbor, Michigan .


Ann Intern Med. 1980;92(5):613-619. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-92-5-613
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Low doses of mitotane were given orally to 36 patients with Cushing's disease, concurrently with or after pituitary cobalt irradiation. Clinical and biochemical remission occurred in 29. The response to treatment occurred early in 17 patients and late in 12. The different pattern of response to mitotane was not related to the dose given or to its serum level. Early biochemical indicators of adrenal suppression with mitotane were a sharp decrease in adrenal response to the infusion of ACTH and in plasma levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Although mitotane was given together with pituitary irradiation, initial remission was due mainly to the adrenal effect of mitotane. Plasma ACTH levels were still elevated when cortisol had returned to normal. In seventeen of the 29 patients who responded to treatment drug therapy has been discontinued, and they remain in remission of Cushing's syndrome. Side-effects have been dose dependent, with anorexia, nausea, decreased memory, and gynecomastia in men being the commonest.

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