Presence of subclinical hypercortisolism in clinical aldosterone-producing adenomas predicts lower clinical success

Kang Yung Peng, Hung Wei Liao, Chieh Kai Chan, Wei Chou Lin, Shao Yu Yang, Yao Chou Tsai, Kuo How Huang, Yen Hung Lin, Jeff S. Chueh, Vin Cent Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients with clinical aldosterone-producing adenomas harboring KCNJ5 mutations with or without subclinical hypercortisolism remain unclear. This prospective study is aimed at determining factors associated with subclinical hypercortisolism in patients with clinical aldosterone-producing adenomas. Totally, 82 patients were recruited from November 2016 to March 2018 and underwent unilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy with at least a 12-month follow-up postoperatively. Standard subclinical hypercortisolism (defined as cortisol >1.8 μg/dL after 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test [DST]) was detected in 22 (26.8%) of the 82 patients. Intriguingly, a generalized additive model identified the clinical aldosterone-producing adenoma patients with 1 mg DST>1.5 μg/dL had significantly larger tumors (P=0.02) than those with 1 mg DST<1.5 μg/dL. Multivariable logistic regression showed that the presence of KCNJ5 mutations (odds ratio, 0.22, P=0.010) and body mass index (odds ratio, 0.87, P=0.046) were negatively associated with 1 mg DST>1.5 μg/dL, whereas tumor size was positively associated with it (odds ratio, 2.85, P=0.014). Immunohistochemistry revealed a higher degree of immunoreactivity for CYP11B1 in adenomas with wild-type KCNJ5 (P=0.018), whereas CYP11B2 was more commonly detected in adenomas with KCNJ5 mutation (P=0.007). Patients with wild-type KCNJ5 and 1 mg DST>1.5 μg/dL exhibited the lowest complete clinical success rate (36.8%) after adrenalectomy. In conclusion, subclinical hypercortisolism is common in clinical aldosterone-producing adenoma patients without KCNJ5 mutation or with a relatively larger adrenal tumor. The presence of serum cortisol levels >1.5 μg/dL after 1 mg DST may be linked to a lower clinical complete success rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1537-1544
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Aldosterone
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Mineralocorticoids
  • Potassium channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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