Alternate Names : Cushing syndrome – ectopic
Ectopic Cushing syndrome is a condition in which a tumor outside the pituitary or adrenal glands produces a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Cushing syndrome is the result of too much glucocorticoid hormones being released over a long period of time. About 15% of Cushing syndrome cases are due to ectopic Cushing syndrome.
Ectopic Cushing syndrome is caused by tumors that release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Other causes of Cushing syndrome are:
- Excess release of ACTH by the pituitary gland
- Long-term use of corticosteroid drugs (commonly used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma)
- Tumor of the adrenal gland
Tumors that can, in rare cases, release ACTH include:
- Islet cell tumors of the pancreas
- Medullary carcinoma of the thyroid
- Small cell tumors of the lung
- Tumors of the thymus gland
Pictures & Images
Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the pace of chemical activity in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).
Review Date : 9/20/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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