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Am J Med. 1985 Dec;79(6):772-6.

Testosterone-secreting adrenal adenoma containing crystalloids characteristic of Leydig cells.


A 49-year-old woman with virilization demonstrated biochemical features traditionally ascribed to virilizing ovarian tumors: marked elevation of serum testosterone level with normal urinary excretion of 17-ketosteroids and normal serum dehydroepiandrosterone level. An adrenal cortical adenoma containing neoplastic cells indistinguishable from Leydig cells, including the demonstration of characteristic crystalloids of Reinke, was shown to be the source of the elevated testosterone level. A review of the literature revealed 13 cases with a similar biochemical profile, and of these, two were reported to contain crystalloids of Reinke. Taking cognizance of the fact that these characteristic crystalloids are only found in 40 percent of Leydig cell tumors of the testis, it is concluded that Leydig cells may be present in, and may be active participants in, the pathophysiology of a number of testosterone-secreting adrenal tumors.

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