Impact of etiology, sex, diabetes mellitus and remission status on erythrocytic profile in patients with cushing's syndrome: a large population database study

Pituitary. 2024 May 20. doi: 10.1007/s11102-024-01399-8. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The study aimed to characterize the erythrocytic profile in patients with cushing's syndrome (CS) versus controls from the normal population according to etiology, sex, presence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypercortisolemia remission status.

Methods: This retrospective cohort analysis compared erythrocytic parameters between patients with CS of pituitary (CD) and adrenal (aCS) etiology and age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic status-matched controls in a 1:5 ratio. Laboratory values at baseline were calculated as mean values during the year preceding CS diagnosis, and over one year thereafter.

Results: The cohort included 397 CS patients (68.26% female; mean age 51.11 ± 16.85 years) and 1970 controls. Patients with CS had significantly higher baseline median levels of hemoglobin (Hgb) (13.70 g/dL vs. 13.12 g/dL [p < 0.0001]) and hematocrit (Hct) (41.64% vs. 39.80% [p < 0.0001]) compared to controls. These differences were observed for both CD and aCS and for both sexes. Patients who attained remission had Hgb and Hct levels comparable to controls (13.20 g/dL and 40.08% in patients with CD and aCS vs. 13.20 g/dL and 39.98% in controls). Meanwhile, those with persistent/recurrent disease maintained elevated levels. Patients with comorbid DM had similar Hgb but higher Hct (p = 0.0419), while patients without DM showed elevated erythrocytic values compared to controls (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Our data illustrates that erythrocytic parameters are directly influenced by glucocorticoid excess as Hgb and Hct are higher in patients with CS, and normalize after remission. We have identified the influence of DM on erythrocytic parameters in patients with CS for the first time.

Keywords: Cushing’s disease; Cushing’s syndrome; Hematocrit; Hemoglobin; Pituitary.