Simultaneous assay of cortisol and dexamethasone improved diagnostic accuracy of the dexamethasone suppression test.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2017 Jun;176(6):705-713
Authors: Ueland GÅ, Methlie P, Kellmann R, Bjørgaas M, Åsvold BO, Thorstensen K, Kelp O, Thordarson HB, Mellgren G, Løvås K, Husebye ES
OBJECTIVES: The overnight dexamethasone (DXM) suppression test (DST) has high sensitivity, but moderate specificity, for diagnosing hypercortisolism. We have evaluated if simultaneous measurement of S-DXM may correct for variable DXM bioavailability and increase the diagnostic performance of DST, and if saliva (sa) is a feasible adjunct or alternative to serum.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Prospective study of DST was carried out in patients with suspected Cushing's syndrome (CS) (n = 49), incidentaloma (n = 152) and healthy controls (n = 101). Cortisol, cortisone and DXM were assayed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).
RESULTS: Three hundred and two subjects underwent DST; S-cortisol was ≥50 nmol/L in 83 patients, of whom 11 had CS and 27 had autonomous cortisol secretion. The lower 2.5 percentile of S-DXM in subjects with negative DST (n = 208) was 3.3 nmol/L, which was selected as the DXM cut-off level. Nine patients had the combination of low S-DXM and positive DST. Of these, three had been misdiagnosed as having autonomous cortisol secretion. DST results were highly reproducible and confirmed in a replication cohort (n = 58). Patients with overt CS had significantly elevated post-DST sa-cortisol and sa-cortisone levels compared with controls; 23 of 25 with autonomous cortisol secretion had elevated sa-cortisone and 14 had elevated sa-cortisol.
CONCLUSIONS: Simultaneous measurement of serum DXM and cortisol reduced false-positive DSTs by 20% and improved the specificity. S-DXM >3.3 nmol/L is sufficient for the suppression of cortisol <50 nmol/L. Measurement of glucocorticoids in saliva is a non-invasive and easy procedure and post-DST sa-cortisone was found particularly useful in the diagnosis of CS.
PMID: 28298353 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]