PET imaging in ectopic Cushing syndrome: a systematic review

Endocrine. 2015 Nov;50(2):297-305. doi: 10.1007/s12020-015-0689-4. Epub 2015 Jul 25.


Cushing syndrome due to endogenous hypercortisolism may cause significant morbidity and mortality. The source of excess cortisol may be adrenal, pituitary, or ectopic. Ectopic Cushing syndrome is sometimes difficult to localize on conventional imaging like CT and MRI. After performing a multilevel thoracoabdominal imaging with CT, the evidence regarding the use of radiotracers for PET imaging is unclear due to significant molecular and etiological heterogeneity of potential causes of ectopic Cushing's syndrome. In our systematic review of literature, it appears that GalLium-based (Ga68) somatostatin receptor analogs have better sensitivity in diagnosis of bronchial carcinoids causing Cushing syndrome and FDG PET appears superior for small-cell lung cancers and other aggressive tumors. Further large-scale studies are needed to identify the best PET tracer for this condition.

Keywords: 18F-FDG; Ectopic Cushing syndrome; Octreoscan; PET.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • ACTH Syndrome, Ectopic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cushing Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*