Context: Inactivating germline mutations of the probable tumor suppressor gene, armadillo repeat containing 5 (ARMC5), have recently been identified as a genetic cause of macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (MAH).
Objective: We searched for ARMC5 mutations in a large cohort of patients with MAH. The clinical phenotype of patients with and without ARMC5 mutations was compared.
Methods: Blood DNA from 34 MAH patients was genotyped using Sanger sequencing. Diurnal serum cortisol measurements, plasma ACTH levels, urinary steroids, 6-day Liddle's test, adrenal computed tomography, and weight of adrenal glands at adrenalectomy were assessed.
Results: Germline ARMC5 mutations were found in 15 of 34 patients (44.1%). In silico analysis of the mutations indicated that seven (20.6%) predicted major implications for gene function. Late-night cortisol levels were higher in patients with ARMC5-damaging mutations compared with those without and/or with nonpathogenic mutations (14.5 ± 5.6 vs 6.7 ± 4.3, P < .001). All patients carrying a pathogenic ARMC5 mutation had clinical Cushing's syndrome (seven of seven, 100%) compared with 14 of 27 (52%) of those without or with mutations that were predicted to be benign (P = .029). Repeated-measures analysis showed overall higher urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids and free cortisol values in the patients with ARMC5-damaging mutations during the 6-day Liddle's test (P = .0002).
Conclusions: ARMC5 mutations are implicated in clinically severe Cushing's syndrome associated with MAH. Knowledge of a patient's ARMC5 status has important clinical implications for the diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome and genetic counseling of patients and their families.