2009 Volume 48 Issue 1 Pages 33-39
Objective Obesity is currently a major public health problem and one of the potential underlying causes of obesity in a minority of patients is Cushing's syndrome (CS). Traditionally, the gold standard screening test for CS is 1 mg dexamethasone overnight suppression test. However, it is known that obese subjects have high false positive results with this test.
Design We have therefore compared the 1 mg and 2 mg overnight dexamethasone suppression tests in obese subjects. Patients whose serum cortisol after ODST was >50 nM underwent and a low-dose dexamethasone suppression test (LDDST); 24-hour urine cortisol was collected for basal urinary free cortisol (UFC). For positive results after overnight 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test we also performed the overnight 2-mg dexamethasone suppression test.
Patients We prospectively evaluated 100 patients (22 men and 78 women, ranging in age from 17 to 73 years with a body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2 who had been referred to our hospital-affiliated endocrine clinic because of simple obesity. Suppression of serum cortisol to <50 nM (1.8 μg/dL) after dexamethasone administration was chosen as the cut-off point for normal suppression.
Measurements Thyroid function tests, lipid profiles, homocysteine, antithyroglobulin, anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody levels, vitamin B12, folate levels, insulin resistance [by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA)] and 1.0 mg postdexamethasone (postdex) suppression cortisol levels were measured.
Results We found an 8% false-positive rate in 1 mg overnight test and 2% in 2 mg overnight test (p=0.001). There was no correlation between the cortisol levels after ODST and other parameters.
Conclusions Our results indicate that the 2 mg overnight dexamethasone suppression test (ODST) is more convenient and accurate than 1-mg ODST as a screening test for excluding CS in subjects with simple obesity.