ACTH-secreting pheochromocytoma is a very rare cause of Cushing’s syndrome, with a high morbidity and mortality risk due to both cortisol and catecholamines excess. We report the case of a 45-year-old female patient with a 3 cm, high-density, left adrenal mass, diagnosed as an ACTH-secreting pheochromocytoma. The biochemical sensitivity of the tumor to somatostatin analogues was tested by a 100 μg s.c. octreotide administration, which led to an ACTH and cortisol reduction of 50 and 25% respectively. In addition to alpha and beta blockers, preoperative approach to laparoscopic adrenalectomy included octreotide, a somatostatin analogue, together with ketoconazole, in order to achieve an adequate pre-surgical control of cortisol release. Histopathological assessment confirmed an ACTH-secreting pheochromocytoma expressing type 2 and 5 somatostatin receptors (SSTR-2 and -5).
- ACTH-secreting pheochromocytomas represent a rare and severe condition, characterized by high morbidity and mortality risk.
- Surgical removal of the adrenal mass is the gold standard treatment, but adequate medical therapy is required preoperatively to improve the surgical outcome and to avoid major complications.
- Somatostatin analogs, in addition to other medications, may represent a useful therapeutic option for the presurgical management of selected patients.
- In this sense, the octreotide challenge test is a useful tool to predict favorable therapeutic response to the treatment.