Treatment options for Cushing disease after unsuccessful transsphenoidal surgery.

James K. Liu, Maria Fleseriu, Johnny B. Delashaw, Ivan S. Ciric, William T. Couldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Cushing disease is considered an aggressive pituitary endocrinopathy because of the devastating effects from untreated hypercortisolemia. Although they are histologically benign, these adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary tumors are associated with significant morbidity and premature death. Currently, transsphenoidal surgery is the primary treatment of Cushing disease associated with an ACTH-secreting pituitary tumor, resulting in remission rates ranging from about 50 to 90%. Some patients, however, will not achieve sustained remission after transsphenoidal surgery and can exhibit persistent or recurrent Cushing disease that requires multimodal treatment to achieve remission. In these patients, options for treatment include repeat transsphenoidal resection, radiation therapy (including conventional fractionated radiation therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery), and medical therapy. Despite undergoing multiple treatment modalities, some patients may ultimately require bilateral adrenalectomy for definitive treatment to eliminate hypercortisolemia associated with Cushing disease. In this article, the authors review the treatment options for patients who have persistent or recurrent Cushing disease after unsuccessful transsphenoidal surgery. The indications, current results reported in the literature, and complications of each treatment modality are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E8
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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