Surgery is usually successful if the tumor is not
cancerous. But surgery is not as successful for a cancerous tumor if the cancer
has spread to other parts of the body.1
If surgery is not possible, medicine therapy may be tried to reduce the
tumor's production of cortisol. This includes using ketoconazole (Nizoral),
mitotane (Lysodren), and aminoglutethimide (Cytadren). These medicines also are
sometimes used before surgery in people who have severe Cushing's syndrome.
Pregnant women who have Cushing's disease can take aminoglutethimide.
For Cushing's syndrome caused by tumors of the lungs and elsewhere
To successfully treat Cushing's syndrome caused by a
noncancerous (benign) or cancerous tumor, the tumor tissue that is secreting
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) must be destroyed
or removed. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or a
combination of treatments may be recommended to treat the tumor.
If left untreated for a long time, Cushing's syndrome
may cause serious problems, including complications from
high blood pressure (such as a
heart attack or
diabetes. The condition also can cause death. Because
of these risks, treatment usually begins as soon as possible.