Alternatives to transsphenoidal pituitary surgery may be required in Cushing's disease (CD) as a first- or second-line treatment. Mitotane is a potent anti-cortisolic drug but has been rarely investigated in the treatment of CD.
Evaluation of the efficacy and tolerance of mitotane in CD patients.
Design and setting
Retrospective analysis of 76 patients treated with mitotane from 219 patients diagnosed with CD between 1993 and 2009 in a single center.
Main outcome measure
Remission was defined as normalization of 24-h urinary free cortisol (24-h-UFC).
Remission was achieved in 48 (72%) of the 67 long-term treated patients, after a median time of 6.7 (5.2–8.2) months. Mean plasma mitotane concentration at the time of remission was 10.5±8.9 mg/l, with a mean daily dose of 2.6±1.1 g. A negative linear relationship was observed between plasma mitotane concentration and 24-h-UFC (P<0.0001). Seventeen of 24 (71%) patients with durable remission subsequently experienced recurrence, after a median time of 13.2 (5.0–67.9) months. At the time of treatment discontinuation, ACTH concentration was statistically associated with a lower recurrence probability (hazard ratios 0.57 (0.32–1.00), P=0.05). Intolerance leading to treatment discontinuation occurred in 19 patients (29%). A pituitary adenoma became identifiable during mitotane treatment in 12 (25%) of the 48 patients with initial negative pituitary imaging allowing subsequent transsphenoidal surgery.
Mitotane is useful at different stages of CD. Mitotane dose adjustment based on plasma concentration monitoring and side effects could control hypercortisolism in the majority of CD patients.