A Severe Hypokalemia Case Due to Ectopic Acth Syndrome Secondary to Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Edip Erkus
M. Zahid Kocak
Gulali Aktas
Emine Ozsari
Selma E. Duzcu
Tuba T. Duman
Burcin M. Atak
Haluk Savli


Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) syndrome is responsible about 15% of Cushing syndrome cases. Malignant tumors,
such as, small cell lung cancer, gastric or bronchial carcinoids, pheochromacytoma, medullary thyroid cancer, are principle causes of ectopic ACTH secretion. Syndrome manifest with impaired glucose tolerance or overt diabetes, hypertension, hypokalemia and lipid disorders. Here we report a subject presented with severe hypokalemia due to ectopic ACTH syndrome, who was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer consequently.
A sixty five year old man presented with severe hypokalemia. He was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Serum ACTH and cortisol levels of the subject were extremely high. Although chemotherapy initiated, he died due to respiratory failure. Radiologic studies should be ordered to rule out underlying tumoral developments in patients presenting with delirium and hypokalemia. Moreover, hyperglycemia in elderly without prior history of diabetes mellitus should be evaluated for malignant lesions and ectopic release of ACTH.

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Erkus E, Kocak MZ, Aktas G, Ozsari E, Duzcu SE, Duman TT, Atak BM, Savli H. A Severe Hypokalemia Case Due to Ectopic Acth Syndrome Secondary to Small Cell Lung Cancer. Nat J Health Sci [Internet]. 2022Apr.5 [cited 2024Jul.19];7(1):39-42. Available from: https://ojs.njhsciences.com/index.php/njhs/article/view/246
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