Clinical characteristics and surgical outcome in USP8-mutated human adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting pituitary adenomas

Endocrine. 2019 Feb;63(2):240-246. doi: 10.1007/s12020-018-1776-0. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


Purpose: somatic mutations in the ubiquitin-specific protease 8 (USP8) gene have recently been described in patients with Cushing's disease (CD). The aim of the study is to verify whether USP8 mutation may predict early and late outcome of pituitary surgery in patients with CD operated at a single institution.

Methods: We performed a retrospective genetic analysis of 92 adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary adenomas. Specimens were screened for USP8 hotspot mutations in the exon 14 with Sanger sequencing. Hormonal and surgical data were compared between USP8 variant carriers and wild-type tumors.

Results: USP8 variants were detected in 22 adenomas (23.9%) with higher prevalence in women (28.9% vs. 5.3% in men; p < 0.05). No significant difference in hormonal levels and tumoral features in relation to USP8 status was observed. Interestingly, USP8-variant carriers were more likely to achieve surgical remission than wild-type adenomas (100% vs. 75.7%; p = 0.01). Conversely, recurrence of CD occurred in 23% of USP8-mutated patients and in 13% of patients with wild-type adenoma. The recurrence-free survival did not differ significantly between the two groups (p = 0.42).

Conclusions: ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas carrying somatic USP8 mutations are associated with a greater likelihood of surgical remission in patients operated by a single neurosurgeon. Recurrence rates are not related with USP8-variant status.

Keywords: Adrenocorticotropin; Cortisol; Pituitary neoplasms; Pituitary surgery.

MeSH terms

  • ACTH-Secreting Pituitary Adenoma / blood
  • ACTH-Secreting Pituitary Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • ACTH-Secreting Pituitary Adenoma / genetics
  • ACTH-Secreting Pituitary Adenoma / surgery*
  • Adenoma / blood
  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / surgery*
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Endopeptidases
  • USP8 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase
  • Hydrocortisone