Health Information

Arrhenoblastoma

Definition

An arrhenoblastoma is a rare type of ovarian tumor. This tumor primarily secretes the male sex hormone, testosterone, and rarely the female sex hormone, estrogen. It accounts for less than 0.5% of all ovarian tumors.

Arrhenoblastomas are generally benign, meaning they do not normally spread beyond the ovary. However, they may cause male physical characteristics to develop in women, such as facial hair and a deepening voice. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor immediately.

Arrhenoblastoma
Ovarian Cancer
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Causes

The cause of arrhenoblastoma is unknown.

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors increase your chance of developing arrhenoblastoma.

  • Young age—arrhenoblastomas most commonly occur among young women (ages 20-30), however they may occur at any age, including toddlers, young girls, and postmenopausal women
  • Very rarely, arrhenoblastoma is a complication of pregnancy

Symptoms

If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to an arrhenoblastoma. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.

  • In many cases, infrequent menstrual periods or cessation of menstrual periods is the only symptom
  • In up to one in three patients, arrhenoblastoma is accompanied by masculinization, including any of the following:

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. He or she will also test your levels of male hormones (such as testosterone and androsterone) to see if they are excessive.

Tests may include the following:

  • Blood tests of hormone levels (including testosterone, DHEA, CD56, and progesterone levels)—to detect if male hormones are high
  • Ultrasound —to identify the location, size, and shape of the tumor
Pelvic Ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound
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Treatment

Treatment involves surgery to remove one or both ovaries. This procedure is usually successful in returning normal menstruation (in premenopausal women) and ceasing masculinization. If the tumor is late stage and particularly aggressive (which is rare), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both, in addition to surgery, may be needed.

Prevention

There are no known ways to prevent ovarian cancer of any kind, as the cause is unknown. To learn more about risk factors for ovarian cancers in general, see the fact sheet on ovarian cancer for more information.

Revision Information

  • The Endocrine Society

    http://www.endo-society.org

  • Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

    http://www.ovariancancer.org

  • National Ovarian Cancer Association

    http://www.ovariancanada.org

  • Ovarian Cancer Canada

    http://www.ovariancancercanada.ca

  • Chen F, Sheu B, et al. Sertoli-leydig cell tumor of the ovary. J Formos Med Assoc. Available at: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17460145. Accessed November 30, 2006.

  • Choong S, Fuller P, et al. Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor of the ovary, a rare cause of precocious puberty in a 12-month-old infant. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87:49-56.

  • Colombo N, Parma G, et al. Management of ovarian stromal cell tumors. J Clin Oncol. 2007;20:2944-2951.

  • DynaMed Editorial Team. Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Accessed November 27, 2006.

  • McCluggage WG, McKenna M, et al. CD56 is a sensitive and diagnostically useful immunohistochemical marker of ovarian sex cord stromal tumor. Int J Gyn Pathol. 2007;26:322-327.

  • Sachdeva P, Arora R, et al. Cell tumor: a rare ovarian neoplasm. Gynecologic Endocrinology. 2008;24(4):230-234.

  • Sex cord-stromal tumors. Johns Hopkins Pathology website. Available at: http://ovariancancer.jhmi.edu/stromal.cfm. Accessed November 27, 2006.