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Endocrine Journal
Vol. 59 (2012) No. 9 p. 823-830




A 24-year-old female patient with cushingoid appearance was admitted in May 2000. The endocrine studies showed ACTH-independent Cushing’s syndrome. A 2-day high-dose dexamethasone suppression test (HDDST) revealed paradoxical increase of 24 h urinary free cortisol (UFC). Abdominal computed tomography demonstrated a left adrenal nodule (3 x 2 cm in diameter). An adrenal scintigram with 131I-6β-iodomethyl-19-norcholesterol showed uptake of the isotope in the left adrenal gland and non-visualization in the right adrenal gland throughout the examination course. A retroperitoneoscopic left total adrenalectomy was performed in July 2000. The cut surface of the left adrenal was yellow-tan grossly. Microscopically, the left adrenal nodule contained a nonpigmented adrenocortical adenoma (NP) and another focal primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD, FP) mixed lesion. The immunohistochemical studies of CYP17 demonstrate positive in NP and FP of the left adrenal gland. Very low baseline morning plasma cortisol (0.97 μg/dL) and subnormal ACTH (8.16 pg/mL) levels were measured 1.5 months after left adrenalectomy. Right adrenal gland recovered its function 6 months after left adrenalectomy. Plasma cortisol could be suppressed to 3.47 μg/dL by overnight low-dose dexamethasone suppression test 65 months after left adrenalectomy. Cushingoid features still did not appear 122 months after left adrenalectomy. In May 2011, this patient was readmitted due to cushingoid characteristics. Paradoxical rise of 24-h UFC to 2-day HDDST was demonstrated. Ultrasonography of thyroid showed bilateral thyroid cysts. Subtotal right adrenalectomy about 80% of right adrenal was performed. Diffuse PPNAD of the right adrenal was proved pathologically. Immunohischemical stain for CYP17 is positive in the right adrenal gland but weaker positive than that in the left adrenal gland. The genetic study of the peripheral blood, left adrenocortical nodule, and right PPNAD all showed p.R16X (c.46C>T) mutation of the PRKAR1A gene.

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