Dalmazi, Guido Di
Patients with adrenal incidentalomas and autonomous cortisol secretion (ACS) have been recognized as a category at risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic co-morbidities. Considering the increasing number of patients affected by this condition, it is important to perform an accurate subtyping of the patients, in the light of a tailored treatment. This review aims to identify the phenotypic characteristics of patients with adrenal incidentalomas and ACS who are at risk of developing severe cortisol-related co-morbidities. ACS has been associated with severe alteration of the cardiovascular profile, including hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Moreover, ACS has been identified as a contributing factor to the development of cardiovascular events and related mortality. Patients with ACS are also at risk of incident bone fractures, which occur in half of the patients independently of the bone mass density, and infectious diseases. Severity and persistence of hypercortisolism are among the main contributing factors for cardiovascular diseases and bone fractures. Moreover, progression of hypercortisolism over time and altered circadian cortisol rhythm seem to be important additional factors. The role of potential novel biomarkers is also discussed in this review.