Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 41, Issue 12, pp 1445–1455 | Cite as

Effect of cabergoline monotherapy in Cushing’s disease: an individual participant data meta-analysis

  • R. Palui
  • J. SahooEmail author
  • S. Kamalanathan
  • S. S. Kar
  • S. Selvarajan
  • H. Durgia
Original Article



The primary treatment of choice for Cushing’s disease (CD) is the removal of the pituitary adenoma by transsphenoidal surgery (TSS). The surgical failure is seen in up to 75% of cases depending on the experience of the surgeon in different studies. Medical therapy is one of the options for the treatment of recurrent or persistent CD.


The primary outcome of this meta-analysis was to find the proportion of patients achieving normalisation of 24-h urinary free cortisol (remission of CD) following cabergoline monotherapy. Literature search was conducted in January 2018 in PubMed/MEDLINE database from its date of inception to 31st December 2017. The search strategy used was “[(cushing) OR Cushing’s] AND cabergoline”. Individual participant data were extracted from the included studies and risk of bias was analysed by review checklist proposed by MOOSE.


The individual participant data of 124 patients from six observational studies were included in this meta-analysis. 92 patients (74.2%) had past pituitary surgery. The proportion of patients achieving remission of CD with cabergoline monotherapy was 39.4% (95% confidence interval 0.31–0.49; P = 0.026). The previous surgery [odds ratio (OR) 28.4], duration of cabergoline monotherapy (OR 1.31) and maximum cabergoline dose (OR 0.19) were predictors for remission of CD. Mild and severe side effects were reported in 37.3% and 5.6% of patients, respectively, during cabergoline monotherapy.


This meta-analysis shows that cabergoline monotherapy is a reasonable alternative for subjects with persistent or recurrent CD after TSS. It can also be used in CD patients either as a bridge therapy while waiting for surgery or in those unwilling for surgery or have contraindication to it.


Cabergoline Cushing’s disease Dopamine agonist Remission Urinary free cortisol 



Adrenocorticotropic hormone


Cushing’s disease


Confidence interval


Cushing’s syndrome


Type 2 dopamine receptor


Diabetes mellitus


Dopamine receptor


Individual participant data


Interquartile range


Odds ratio


Standard deviation


Transsphenoidal surgery


Urinary free cortisol


Upper normal limit



We sincerely thank Dr. A Tabarin, Dr. A Ferriere and Dr. Pia Burman for responding to our queries and sharing their patients’ data with us.

Author contributions

JS and RP were involved in each of the following points: (1) design, (2) data collection, (3) analysis, and (4) writing manuscript. SS and HD were involved in each of the following points: (1) data collection, (2) quality assessment of articles, (3) analysis, and (4) reviewing manuscript. SSK was involved in each of the following points: (1) design, (2) analysis, (3) quality assessment of studies, and (4) reviewing manuscript. SK was involved in each of the following points: (1) design, (2) data collection, and (3) reviewing manuscript. All the authors approved the final version of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study, informed consent was not necessary.

Supplementary material

40618_2018_936_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyJIPMERPuducherryIndia
  2. 2.Department of Preventive and Social MedicineJIPMERPuducherryIndia
  3. 3.Department of Clinical PharmacologyJIPMERPuducherryIndia

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