Adrenal incidentaloma: management of patients with functionally autonomous cortisol synthesis

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Over recent decades due to improved visualization (ultrasound, computer tomography and magnetic resonance imaging) prevalence of adrenal incidentaloma has increased. The term «adrenal incidentaloma» is generic and includes a group of tumors of various morphology and over 1 cm in diameter accidentally discovered during radiologic investigation. The found tumor can be hormonally inactive or actively releasing different hormones, malignant or benign, and originating from different adrenal zones or having non-specific organ origin. Based on the frequency of revealing and clinical significance the most noteworthy is functionally autonomous cortisol synthesis. It means changes of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis without classic clinically prominent signs of cortisol excess such as proximal myopathy, stretch marks, body fat redistribution and other metabolic changes related to cortisol. Currently a large number of recommendations on the management and tactics of treatment of adrenal incidentaloma can be found in the literature. Based on the analysis of these guidelines the conclusions were made about the diagnostic errors and incorrect approaches to the choice of treatment of such patients. Recently a lot of studies have been directed to the early detection of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism disorders, relation with obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension and osteoporosis for preserved quality of life of such patients. Influence of hypercorticism is considered to worsen the course of these conditions but at the moment no effect of adrenalectomy on mortality and life duration was confirmed.

T R Chzhen

Ural State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
Yekaterinburg, Russia

T P Kiseleva

Ural State Medical University

Yekaterinburg, Russia

M R Torosyan

Ural State Medical University

Yekaterinburg, Russia

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