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Cushing Syndrome

Cushing Syndrome is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Cushing disease: Pituitary adenoma producing excess adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
  • Cushing syndrome: Excessive glucocorticoid effects

Risk Factors

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type I
  • Carney complex (pigmented lentigines, atrial myxoma, germ-cell tumors with Cushing disease)


  • Most commonly exogenous administration of glucocorticoids either therapeutically or surreptitiously
  • Pituitary adenoma secreting ACTH
  • Adrenal production of cortisol from adenoma, carcinoma, or micronodular disease
  • Tumor-producing ectopic ACTH:
    • Small cell lung carcinoma:
      • Most common
    • Uterine cervical carcinoma
    • Islet cell tumor of pancreas:
      • Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) I-type syndrome
    • Medullary thyroid cancer
    • Pheochromocytoma
    • Ganglioneuroma
    • Melanoma prostate carcinoma
    • Carcinoid tumor:
      • Lung
      • Pancreas
      • GI tract
      • Thymus
      • Ovary

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Cushing Syndrome." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307292/all/Cushing_Syndrome.
Cushing Syndrome. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307292/all/Cushing_Syndrome. Accessed April 23, 2019.
Cushing Syndrome. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307292/all/Cushing_Syndrome
Cushing Syndrome [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 23]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307292/all/Cushing_Syndrome.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Cushing Syndrome ID - 307292 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307292/all/Cushing_Syndrome PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -