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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cushing's syndrome with small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix.

A 28 year old white women was found to have a cervical tumor in the 25th week of pregnancy. Pathologic examination revealed a nonkeratinizing small cell carcinoma. After delivery by cesarean section, pelvic lymph node exploration was carried out, and all 15 nodes were free of tumor. Her condition was staged as II-A, and she was treated with local radiation. Metastatic disease became manifest almost a year later and was histologically similar to her primary disease. A Cushingoid appearance was noticed and plasma cortisol levels were elevated. Twenty-four hour urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroid (17-OHCS) and 17-ketosteroid (17-KS) levels were elevated and failed to suppress with dexamethasone. Plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) level was elevated. Electron microscopic examination of the tumor tissue revealed neurosecretory granules. Immunoperoxidase stains for ACTH were positive. The patient's course was one of progressive decline and eventual death. A literature review revealed two other cases in which carcinoma of the uterine cervix was considered to be the source of ectopic ACTH. Some small cell carcinomas of the cervix may arise from cells of the APUD series. Small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix may behave differently from the more commonly encountered keratinizing and large cell nonkeratinizing carcinomas of the cervix and may not respond as well to standard therapy. Ectopic hormone production, production of abnormal peptides or of vasoactive amines may be more common in small cell carcinoma of the cervix than is currently recognized, and these products may be clinically useful as tumor markers.[1]


  1. Cushing's syndrome with small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Lojek, M.A., Fer, M.F., Kasselberg, A.G., Glick, A.D., Burnett, L.S., Julian, C.G., Greco, F.A., Oldham, R.K. Am. J. Med. (1980) [Pubmed]
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