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J Med Case Rep. 2007 Dec 18;1:182.

Androgen secreting steroid cell tumor of the ovary in a young lactating women with acute onset of severe hyperandrogenism: a case report and review of literature.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Edapally, Kochi, Pin-682026, Kerela, India.



Steroid cell tumors of the ovary account for less than 0.1% of all ovarian tumors 1 and these tumours may present at any age in association with interesting presentations related to the hormonal activity and virilizing properties of tumor. Hayes and Scully 2 reported 63 cases in patients ranging from 2 to 80 years of age. The subtype, not otherwise specified, is associated with androgenic changes in approximately one half of patients with this tumour 1. In a series of 63 cases from Massachusetts General Hospital, 94% of the tumors were found to be unilateral and 28.6% were malignant 3. As most of these tumors are diagnosed at an early stage and do not recur or metastasize, little is known about their response to therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation 3.


We present the case of a 22-year old lactating woman who presented with four months of amenorrhea associated with signs of virilization. Clinical and diagnostic evaluation revealed a right adenexal mass and elevated serum levels of testosterone and she was diagnosed as having a stage 1A androgen secreting steroid cell tumor. In view of the early stage of the disease, she underwent right salpingo-oopherectomy. Histopathological examination and immunohistochemistry confirmed the diagnosis. Two months after surgery she regained normal menses and showed regression of the androgenic changes.


Surgery remains the mainstay of the treatment of gonadotrophin receptor positive steroid cell tumors although medical therapy using Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone [GnRH analogues has been tried recently in recurrent or inoperable cases. There is no described effective chemotherapy or radiotherapy for this condition.

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