ectopic ACTH syndrome

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ec·top·ic ACTH syn·drome

the association of Cushing syndrome with a non-pituitary neoplasm, usually a lung carcinoma that produces ACTH.

ectopic ACTH syndrome

A condition associated with production of ACTH by tissues other than the pituitary–eg, by small cell lung cancer Clinical Similar to pituitary-dependent Cushing syndrome Management Bilateral adrenalectomy if site of ectopic ACTH is unknown, excision of nonmalignant ACTH-producing tumors. See Cushing syndrome.


1. pertaining to or characterized by ectopy.
2. located away from normal position.
3. arising or produced at an abnormal site or in a tissue where it is not normally found. See also specific sites or structures.

ectopic ACTH syndrome
production of ACTH by nonpituitary tumors occurs in humans and is a cause of adrenal hyperplasia and hyperadrenocorticism. It has not been reported in animals.
ectopic endocrinopathy
production of hormones by nonendocrinal, usually neoplastic, tissues. The most common example in animals is pseudohyperparathyroidism in dogs caused by a variety of tumors, particularly apocrine adenocarcinomas of the anal sacs and lymphosarcoma.
ectopic heart
see ectopia cordis.
ectopic kidney
usually an unascended kidney.
ectopic lens
see ectopia lentis.
ectopic mineralization
deposition of calcium salts of phosphate, silicate, etc. in unusual situations, e.g. calcifying myopathy in horses. See also mineralization.
ectopic ossification
see ectopic mineralization (above).
ectopic teeth
see dental cyst.
References in periodicals archive ?
To cure the overproduction of cortisol caused by ectopic ACTH syndrome, it is necessary to eliminate all of the cancerous tissue that is secreting ACTH.
This clinical situation is frequently referred to as 'occult' ectopic ACTH syndrome.
Biochemically, ectopic ACTH syndrome is frequently associated with exceedingly high circulating concentrations of corticotropin (23), as seen in our patients.
However, incidental adenomas of the pituitary gland are present in up to 35 per cent of adults (27), thus that hypophysectomy occasionally yields a nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma in patients with ectopic ACTH syndrome, is not surprising.
In conclusion, ectopic ACTH syndrome due to slowly growing tumours like carcinoids usually presents with clinical features indistinguishable from classical Cushing's.