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Yang, Yuhong; Burrello, Jacopo; Burrello, Alessio; Eisenhofer, Graeme; Peitzsch, Mirko; Tetti, Martina; Knösel, Thomas; Beuschlein, Felix; Lenders, Jacques W. M.; Mulatero, Paolo; Reincke, Martin and Williams, Tracy Ann (14. January 2019): Classification of microadenomas in patients with primary aldosteronism by steroid profiling. In: Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology [PDF, 1MB]

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In primary aldosteronism (PA) the differentiation of unilateral aldosterone-producing adenomas (APA) from bilateral adrenal hyperplasia (BAH) is usually performed by adrenal venous sampling (AVS) and/or computed tomography (CT). CT alone often lacks the sensitivity to identify micro-APAs. Our objectives were to establish if steroid profiling could be useful for the identification of patients with micro-APAs and for the development of an online tool to differentiate micro-APAs, macro-APAs and BAH. The study included patients with PA (n = 197) from Munich (n = 124) and Torino (n = 73) and comprised 33 patients with micro-APAs, 95 with macro-APAs, and 69 with BAH. Subtype differentiation was by AVS, and micro- and macro-APAs were selected according to pathology reports. Steroid concentrations in peripheral venous plasma were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. An online tool using a random forest model was built for the classification of micro-APA, macro-APA and BAH. Micro-APA were classified with low specificity (33%) but macro-APA and BAH were correctly classified with high specificity (93%). Improved classification of micro-APAs was achieved using a diagnostic algorithm integrating steroid profiling, CT scanning and AVS procedures limited to patients with discordant steroid and CT results. This would have increased the correct classification of micro-APAs to 68% and improved the overall classification to 92%. Such an approach could be useful to select patients with CT-undetectable micro-APAs in whom AVS should be considered mandatory.

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