The Effect of Biochemical Remission on Bone Metabolism in Cushing's Syndrome: A 2-Year Follow-Up Study

J Bone Miner Res. 2020 Sep;35(9):1711-1717. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.4033. Epub 2020 May 8.


Endogenous Cushing's syndrome (CS) is a rare cause of secondary osteoporosis. The long-term consequences for bone metabolism after successful surgical treatment remain largely unknown. We assessed bone mineral density and fracture rates in 89 patients with confirmed Cushing's syndrome at the time of diagnosis and 2 years after successful tumor resection. We determined five bone turnover markers at the time of diagnosis, 1 and 2 years postoperatively. The bone turnover markers osteocalcin, intact procollagen-IN-propeptide (PINP), alkaline bone phosphatase, CTX-I, and TrAcP 5b were measured in plasma or serum by chemiluminescent immunoassays. For comparison, 71 sex-, age-, and body mass index (BMI)-matched patients in whom Cushing's syndrome had been excluded were studied. None of the patients received specific osteoanabolic treatment. At time of diagnosis, 69% of the patients had low bone mass (mean T-score = -1.4 ± 1.1). Two years after successful surgery, the T-score had improved in 78% of patients (mean T-score 2 years postoperatively -1.0 ± 0.9). The bone formation markers osteocalcin and intact PINP were significantly decreased at time of diagnosis (p ≤ 0.001 and p = 0.03, respectively), and the bone resorption marker CTX-I and TrAcP 5b increased. Postoperatively, the bone formation markers showed a three- to fourfold increase 1 year postoperatively, with a moderate decline thereafter. The bone resorption markers showed a similar but less pronounced course. This study shows that the phase immediately after surgical remission from endogenous CS is characterized by a high rate of bone turnover resulting in a striking net increase in bone mineral density in the majority of patients. © 2020 The Authors. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research published by American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.


Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Cushing Syndrome* / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Osteocalcin


  • Biomarkers
  • Osteocalcin