Although weight gain and obesity are nearly universal features of Cushings syndrome, we hypothesized that screening results would have poor specificity in an obese population. The study is based in a weight loss clinic and enrolled individuals with at least two additional signs or symptoms of Cushings syndrome. 369 subjects (73% female) completed two or three tests: a 24h urine cortisol (UFC), and/or late-night salivary cortisol, and/or 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST). If any result was abnormal (based on laboratory reference range or cortisol after DST >/= 1.8 ug/dl 50 nmol/l), tests were repeated and/or a dexamethasone-CRH (dex-CRH) test was performed. Subjects with abnormal DST results and a low dexamathasone level were asked to repeat the test with 2mg of dexamethasone. We found that in addition to obesity, subjects had a mean of 5-6 features of Cushing's syndrome. None was found to have Cushing's syndrome. Test specificities to exclude Cushing's syndrome for subjects who completed 3 tests were: UFC 96% 95 CI: 93-98%;DST 90% 95 CI: 87-93%;salivary cortisol 84% by RIA 95 CI: 79-89% and 92% by LC-MS/MS 95 CI: 88-95%. The combined specificity (both tests normal) for all combinations of two tests was 84 to 90%, with overlapping confidence intervals. These data do not support widespread screening of overweight and obese subjects for Cushing's syndrome;test results for such patients may be falsely abnormal. Within the same population we are now evaluating the influence of cortisol on parameters of the metabolic syndrome.

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Nieman, Lynnette K (2015) Cushing's syndrome: update on signs, symptoms and biochemical screening. Eur J Endocrinol 173:M33-8
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Boyd, Sarita D; Hadigan, Colleen; McManus, Maryellen et al. (2013) Influence of low-dose ritonavir with and without darunavir on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of inhaled beclomethasone. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 63:355-61
Sharma, S T; Nieman, L K (2013) Is prolactin measurement of value during inferior petrosal sinus sampling in patients with adrenocorticotropic hormone-dependent Cushing's Syndrome? J Endocrinol Invest 36:1112-6
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