Autonomous cortisol secretion (ACS) affects up to 50% of patients with adrenal adenomas. Despite the limited evidence, clinical guidelines recommend measurement of serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) and corticotropin (ACTH) to aid in the diagnosis of ACS. Our objective was to determine the accuracy of serum concentrations of DHEA-S and ACTH in diagnosing ACS. We conducted a retrospective single center study of adults with adrenal adenoma evaluated between 2000−2020. Main outcome measure was diagnostic accuracy of DHEA-S and ACTH. ACS was defined as post-dexamethasone cortisol >1.8 mcg/dL. Of 468 patients, ACS was diagnosed in 256 (55%) patients with a median post-DST cortisol of 3.45 mcg/dL (range, 1.9–32.7). Patients with ACS demonstrated lower serum concentrations of DHEA-S (35 vs. 87.3 mcg/dL, p < 0.0001) and ACTH (8.3 vs. 16 pg/mL, p < 0.0001) compared to patients with non-functioning adrenal tumors (NFAT). Serum DHEA-S concentration <40 mcg/dL diagnosed ACS with 84% specificity and 81% PPV, while serum ACTH concentration <10 pg/mL diagnosed ACS with 75% specificity and 78% PPV. The combination of serum concentrations of DHEA-S <40 mcg/dL and ACTH <10 pg/mL diagnosed ACS with the highest accuracy with 92% specificity and 87% PPV. Serum concentrations of DHEA-S and ACTH provide additional value in diagnosing ACS.
- Adrenal adenoma
- Adrenal mass
- Dexamethasone suppression test
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)