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Cushing's disease (CD), i.e. cortisol excess due to an ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma, is a rare disorder with considerable morbidity and mortality. Surgical removal of the adenoma is the first line treatment but achieves cure in 2/3 of patients only and recurrence of the disease occurs in 20% of cases. Available medical treatment relies on inhibitors of steroidogenesis as no causal therapy i.e. drugs capable of inhibiting tumoral secretion has yet provided consistent results. Interesting results in reducing ACTH levels have been obtained with retinoic acid (RA) both on cellular and animal models of CD. With these premises, the main focus of our unit is to study in-vitro on the murine ACTH-secreting pituitary cell line AtT20 and on primary cultures from human ACTH-secreting adenomas the effects of the combined administration with RA and other molecules with even partial already proven efficacy and based on a plausible scientific rationale
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