A Case of Etomidate Use in Management of Adrenocortical Carcinoma With Hypercortisolemia

Sharifah Faradila Wan Muhamad Hatta, Rachel Daly, Cyril Chacko, Rajeev Raghavan


Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is rare with an incidence of 0.7 - 2.0 per million per year. Approximately 60% of cases present with hypercortisolism, and rapidly progressing Cushing’s syndrome with or without virilisation is the most frequent presentation of ACC. Surgical intervention, aimed at removing the tumor and the source of cortisol or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), is the optimal treatment in most cases of Cushing’s syndrome. However, in hypercortisolemic states, surgical intervention has high rates of perioperative mortality and morbidity. Oral adrenal steroidogenesis inhibitors are commonly used, but in some cases they may not be tolerated or may not act quickly enough to bring down the cortisol level prior to surgery. Hence, occasionally, a more potent, immediate acting, parental agent, e.g., etomidate is necessary. We describe a case of ACC producing cortisol, which was complicated by an acute psychotic episode requiring intravenous etomidate for stabilization of the clinical condition prior to surgery.

J Endocrinol Metab. 2020;10(6):190-194
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jem682


Adrenocortical carcinoma; Cushing’s syndrome; Hypercortisolemia; Young hypertension; Etomidate

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