What causes Cushing syndrome?

Cushing syndrome can develop for two reasons:

  • Medication that contains glucocorticoid, which is similar to cortisol1,2
  • tumor in the body that makes the adrenal gland produce too much cortisol1,2


  1. Nieman L. K., & Ilias, I. (2005). Evaluation and treatment of Cushing syndrome. Journal of American Medicine, 118(12), 1340–1346. PMID 16378774.
  2. Nieman, L. K., Biller, B. M. K., Findling, J. W., Newell-Price, J., Savage, M. O., Stewart, P. M., & Montori, V. M. (2008). The diagnosis of Cushing syndrome: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 93(5), 1526–1540. Retrieved March 2, 2017, from https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/92/1/10/2597828 
  3. Batista, D. L., Courcoutsakis, N., Riar, J., Keil, M. F., & Stratakis, C. A. (2008). Severe obesity confounds the interpretation of low-dose dexamethasone test combined with the administration of ovine corticotrophin-releasing hormone in childhood Cushing syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 93(11), 4323-4330. PMID 18728165.
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