Prolactin as a Marker of Successful Catheterization during IPSS in Patients with ACTH-Dependent Cushing's Syndrome

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Abstract

Context:

Anomalous venous drainage can lead to false-negative inferior petrosal sinus sampling (IPSS) results. Baseline inferior petrosal sinus to peripheral (IPS/P) prolactin ratio higher than 1.8 ipsilateral to the highest ACTH ratio has been proposed to verify successful catheterization. Prolactin-normalized ACTH IPS/P ratios may differentiate Cushing's disease (CD) from ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS).

Objective:

Our objective was to examine the utility of prolactin measurement during IPSS.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

We conducted a retrospective analysis of prolactin levels in basal and CRH-stimulated IPSS samples in ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome (2007–2010).

Results:

Twenty-five of 29 patients had a pathologically proven diagnosis (17 CD and eight EAS). IPSS results were partitioned into true positive for CD (n = 16), true negative (n = 7), false negative (n = 1), and false positive (n = 1). Prolactin IPS/P ratio suggested successful IPSS in eight of 11 with abnormal venograms. Baseline prolactin IPS/P ratio was helpful in two patients with abnormal venograms and false-negative (catheterization unsuccessful) or true-negative (catheterization successful) IPSS results; the normalized ratio correctly diagnosed their disease. Normalized ACTH IPS/P ratio was at least 1.3 in all with CD, but prolactin IPS/P ratios were misleadingly low in two. One patient with cyclic EAS had a false-positive IPSS when eucortisolemic (baseline prolactin IPS/P = 1.7; normalized ratio = 5.6). All other EAS patients had normalized ratios no higher than 0.7.

Conclusion:

Prolactin measurement and evaluation of the venogram can improve diagnostic accuracy when IPSS results suggest EAS but is not necessary with positive IPSS results. Confirmation of hypercortisolemia remains a prerequisite for IPSS. A normalized ratio of 0.7–1.3 was not diagnostic.

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