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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Cushing's syndrome


Other Names for this Disease

  • Adrenal cortex adenoma
  • Adrenal hyperfunction resulting from pituitary acth excess
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Ectopic ACTH syndrome
  • Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

My sister has been diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome. Is this disease hereditary?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What causes Cushing's syndrome?

Cushing's syndrome is caused by long-term exposure of the body's tissues to cortisol, a hormone that is naturally produced by the adrenal gland. Exposure to too much cortisol can result from long-term use of corticosteriod medications used to treat inflammatory illnesses. Pituitary adenomas (benign tumors of the pituitary gland) or tumors of the adrenal gland may also cause cortisol imbalances.[1]
Last updated: 11/30/2014

Is Cushing's syndrome inherited?

Most cases of Cushing's syndrome are not inherited. However, Cushing's syndrome rarely occurs in inherited conditions characterized by the development of tumors of one or more endocrine gland. These conditions may include:[2]
  • Primary pigmented micronodular adrenal disease, in which children or young adults develop small cortisol-producing tumors of the adrenal glands,
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), in which hormone-secreting tumors of the parathyroid glands, pancreas, and pituitary develop. Cushing's syndrome in MEN1 may be due to pituitary or adrenal tumors.
Last updated: 11/30/2014

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Adrenal cortex adenoma
  • Adrenal hyperfunction resulting from pituitary acth excess
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Ectopic ACTH syndrome
  • Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.