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Ovarian Leydig Cell Tumor: Cause of Virilization in a Postmenopausal Woman

Nádia Mourinho Bala, José Maria Aragüés, Sílvia Guerra, Delfina Brito, Cristina Valadas

(Department of Endocrinology, Hospital Beatriz Ângelo, Loures, Portugal)

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e933126

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.933126


BACKGROUND: Only 0.5% of all ovarian tumors are Leydig cell tumors and they are generally benign and unilateral. These androgen-secreting tumors lead to virilizing symptoms, most often in postmenopausal women. Because Leydig cell tumors are typically small, diagnosing them accurately can be challenging.
CASE REPORT: We report the case of a 77-year-old woman who was referred to our Endocrinology Clinic because of a 5-year history of hirsutism (Ferriman-Gallwey score of 11) with no discernible cause. The patient had high levels of serum testosterone and a normal level of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Imaging, including transvaginal ultrasound and pelvic magnetic resonance, revealed a 16-mm uterine nodule, which was suspected to be a submucous leiomyoma, but no adrenal or ovarian lesions. Despite the lack of findings on imaging and because of the high suspicion for an androgen-secreting ovarian tumor, bilateral laparoscopic oophorectomy was performed. Histological examination of the specimen revealed a non-hilar Leydig cell tumor that measured 8 mm in its largest axis. After the surgery, the patient had significant clinical improvement and her laboratory test results normalized. Her sister had the same symptoms and laboratory findings at a similar age, which raised the suspicion of a possible familial genetic syndrome. No genetic testing was performed, however, because the patient’s sister declined further diagnostic investigation.
CONCLUSIONS: Leydig cell tumors are rare, and even when they are small, they can cause symptoms related to androgen excess. As a result, diagnosing them often is challenging.

Keywords: hyperandrogenism, Leydig Cell Tumor, Postmenopause

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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