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Gynecol Endocrinol. 2002 Jun;16(3):213-6.

Ovarian steroid cell tumor and a contralateral ovarian thecoma in a postmenopausal woman with severe hyperandrogenism.

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Department of Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.


A 49-year-old woman presented with rapidly progressing hirsutism, receding hairline, male-pattern baldness and deepening of voice, which had developed over the past 2 years. Hormonal evaluation showed a markedly elevated serum testosterone level (418 ng/dl) and no evidence of increased production of cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiadrosterone-sulfate, androstenedione, or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. Transvaginal ultrasound examination suggested the presence of a small mass within the left ovary, but all other radiological studies, including adrenal and ovarian computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, radio-labelled cholesterol scintigraphy and positron emission tomography, were negative. Subsequently, bilateral selective venous sampling showed a marked testosterone gradient in the right ovarian vein. Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy was performed (the patient had had a previous vaginal hysterectomy), and histopathological examination revealed a 10-mm steroid cell tumor within the right ovary and a 15-mm thecal cell tumor within the left ovary. The postoperative serum testosterone level returned to normal and the patient showed a slow regression of clinical symptoms. The simultaneous occurrence of a virilizing ovarian steroid cell tumor and an apparently non-functioning thecoma within the contralateral ovary emphasizes the potential pitfalls that may exist in the preoperative evaluation of patients with markedly increased testosterone production.

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