MRI-Negative Cushing's Disease: A Review on Therapeutic Management

World Neurosurg. 2022 Jun;162:126-137.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2022.03.076. Epub 2022 Mar 22.


Objectives: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we review the literature regarding patients with Cushing's disease (CD) with negative or inconclusive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods: A quantitative systematic review was performed. Article selection was performed by searching MEDLINE (using PubMed), EMBASE, and Cochrane electronic bibliographic databases.

Results: 28 articles described surgical management of inconclusive MRI or MRI-negative CD. A total of 858 patients underwent surgery for their Cushing adenoma. Different types of surgery, including endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) (190 cases) and microscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (METS) (488 cases), were performed on patients with MRI-negative CD. 7 studies, which included 164 patients, did not describe any surgery. EETS and METS are conducted to achieve selective adenomectomy (231 cases), partial adenomectomy (80 cases), total adenomectomy (13 cases), hemihypophysectomy (15 cases), or enlarged adenomectomy (48 cases). Based on available data on these studies, the remission rate, persistence rate, and recurrence rate after different types of surgeries on patients with MRI-negative CD were 72.97%, 27.03%, and 12.05%, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between EETS and METS in the subanalysis regarding recurrence rate, remission rate, and persistence rate. However, the recurrence rate in the METS group is almost 3 times higher than in the EETS group.

Conclusions: Surgery has a good prognosis in patients with MRI-negative CD in terms of remission, and EETS has a lower rate of disease recurrence than METS; therefore, EETS seems to be the potential recommended treatment technique, while to confirm the therapeutic method of choice, further investigations should be done.

Keywords: Endocrine surgical procedures; Magnetic resonance imaging; Meta-analysis; Pituitary ACTH hypersecretion; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion* / surgery
  • Pituitary Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome