AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A trio of experts speaking today at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 26th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress shared their in-depth knowledge about adrenal conditions that are relatively uncommon compared to other endocrine system disorders and also can be among the most challenging to identify and treat.
The presentation, “Innovations in Evaluation and Management of Adrenal Diseases,” highlighted Cushing’s syndrome, an excess of the hormone cortisol in the blood usually caused by a tumor; adrenocorticol carcinoma, a rare and deadly disease in which malignant cells form in the outer layer of the adrenal gland; and adrenal function in critically ill patients.
Dr. Lynette Nieman, an active clinical investigator and Chief of the Endocrinology Consultation Service at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, has seen more than 1,000 patients with Cushing’s syndrome at the NIH. Cushing’s is a debilitating endocrine disorder characterized by excessive cortisol levels in the blood. She underscored the challenges not only in diagnosing Cushing’s syndrome – which can include potential drug and hormone interference, and false negatives or positives in testing and imaging studies – but also the importance of an individualized patient treatment plan to address the long-term effects and comorbidities associated with hypercortisolism.
In discussing the distinction between relatively common benign tumors of the adrenal cortex and adrenocorticol carcinoma (ACC), an ultra-rare endocrine malignancy that forms in the outer layer of the adrenal gland and has usually metastasized to other parts of the body by the time it is diagnosed, world-renowned adrenal cancer specialist Dr. Gary Hammer noted that most doctors – including endocrinologists – have never seen a case of adrenocortical carcinoma. As such, the challenge is needing to know when to be concerned, particularly since the signs and symptoms induced by a tumor’s effect on adrenal production of key hormones – high blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes – are among the most common symptoms in Western society.
As Director of the Endocrine Oncology Program at the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Hammer and his colleagues are collaborating with clinicians, researchers and institutions around the world to unravel the genetics of the disease with the goal of creating therapies that target the molecular defects of ACC. Dr. Amir H. Hamrahian, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Department of Endocrinology at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, highlighted the complex condition of adrenal insufficiency (AI) in critically ill patients. Noting the limitations of currently available diagnostic tools as well as the lack of consensus on what constitutes normal adrenal function in critically ill patients, he nonetheless recommended the use of random cortisol and free cortisol levels as the primary evaluation tool with these patients.
Presenters from “Innovations in Evaluation and Management of Adrenal Diseases,” will discuss details of their presentations in a press briefing on Friday, May 5, at 12:15 p.m. at the AACE 26th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress.
About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 7,000 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. A majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our site at www.aace.com.
About the American College of Endocrinology (ACE)
The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of endocrine and metabolic disorders by: providing professional education and reliable public health information; recognizing excellence in education, research and service; promoting clinical research and defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology. For more information, please visit www.aace.com/college.