Late-night salivary cortisol (NSC) has been recognized as a sensitive and easy-to-perform screening test for the diagnosis of overt Cushing’s syndrome (CS). However, there have been few reports on the diagnostic utility of salivary cortisol (SC) measurement in the diagnosis of subclinical Cushing’s syndrome (SCS). Therefore, the present study was designed to evaluate the usefulness of SC measurements at late-night and after overnight 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST) for the diagnosis of SCS in 42 patients with adrenal incidentaloma. We evaluated 16 patients with SCS, 12 with nonfunctioning adenoma (NFA), 8 with primary aldosteronism (PA), and 6 with pheochromocytoma (Pheo). NSC levels in SCS patients (0.238 ± 0.106 μg/dL) were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than those in NFA patients (0.154 ± 0.104 μg/dL); the cutoff value (0.11 μg/dL) by ROC analysis gave high sensitivity (100%) with low specificity (50%). Post DST SC levels in SCS patients (0.238 ± 0.116 μg/dL) were significantly (P = 0.0081) higher than those in NFA patients (0.136 ± 0.110 μg/dL); the cutoff value (0.12 μg/dL) by ROC analysis gave high sensitivity (93.8%) with somewhat improved specificity (58.3%). Both NSC and post DST SC levels were comparable between NFA, PA, and Pheo patients. In conclusion, our study revealed that measurements of NSC and/or post DST SC among patients with adrenal incidentaloma prove to have high sensitivities, but low specificities for the diagnosis of SCS from NFA, suggesting its possible alternative option before the screening tests for SCS currently employed in Japan.
The Japan Endocrine Society