Virilization due to ovarian androgen hypersecretion in a patient with ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone secretion caused by a carcinoid tumour: case report.
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SourceHuman Reproduction, 21, 10, (2006), pp. 2601-2605
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectIGMD 6: Hormonal regulation; NCMLS 3: Growth and differentiation; NCMLS 3: Tissue engineering and pathology; ONCOL 1: Hereditary cancer and cancer-related syndromes; ONCOL 3: Translational research; ONCOL 5: Aetiology, screening and detection; UMCN 1.2: Molecular diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring; UMCN 1.4: Immunotherapy, gene therapy and transplantation; UMCN 5.2: Endocrinology and reproduction; NCMLS 3: Growth and differentiation
A 52-year-old woman presented with symptoms of virilization, which had been ongoing for 5 months. At the age of 34 years, she had a large abdominal carcinoid tumour removed. Twelve years later, she presented with Cushing's syndrome due to ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) production by carcinoid metastases localized in the right parametrium, fornix posterior and right diaphragm. Debulking laparotomy was performed followed by remission of hypercortisolism. Relapse of hypercortisolism followed 3 years later, and a second debulking laparotomy was performed including resection of the right ovary. In the following year, relapses of hypercortisolism were observed until bilateral adrenalectomy was performed. Laboratory evaluation revealed elevated serum levels of testosterone (23.0 nmol/l), androstenedione and 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and a serum estradiol (E2) level in the premenopausal range. The computerized tomography (CT) of the abdomen showed a large pelvic mass on the left side of the uterus without a recognizable left ovary. Treatment with a GnRH agonist (goserelin, 3.6 mg s.c., monthly) was initiated, resulting in normalization of the androgen levels. One year later, obstruction of the right ureter occurred due to progression of the pelvic metastases, thus a third debulking laparotomy with resection of the pelvic metastases including the left ovary was performed. The microscopic examination of the removed pelvic mass showed malignant carcinoid tissue with focal remnants of atrophic ovarian tissue. Two years after surgery, serum androgen levels are undetectable. We hypothesize that the high levels of ACTH at the site of the left ovary have induced androgen hypersecretion by steroid-producing cells in the ovary of our patient.
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