Ovarian steroid cell tumor causing isosexual pseudoprecocious puberty in a young girl: an instructive case and literature review

BMC Endocr Disord. 2022 Feb 16;22(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12902-022-00956-1.


Background: Steroid cell tumors (SCTs) are very rare sex cord-stromal tumors and account only for less than 0.1% of ovarian neoplasms. SCTs might comprise diverse steroid-secreting cells; hence, the characteristic clinical features were affected by their propensity to secrete a variety of hormones rather than mass effect resulting in compression symptoms and signs. To date, ovarian SCTs have seldom been reported in children, particularly very young children; and pseudoprecocious puberty (PPP) as its unique principal manifestation should be reiterated.

Case presentation: We reported a 1-year-8-month-old girl presenting with rapid bilateral breast and pubic hair development within a 2-month period. Undetectable levels of LH and FSH along with excessively high estradiol after stimulation with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), as well as a heterogeneous mass inside left ovary shown in pelvic sonography indicate isosexual PPP. Her gonadal hormones returned remarkably to the prepubertal range the day after surgery, and histology of the ovary mass demonstrated SCTs containing abundant luteinized stromal cells.

Conclusion: The case highlighted that SCTs causing isosexual PPP should be taken into consideration in any young children coexistent with rapidly progressive puberty given a remarkable secretion of sex hormones. This article also reviewed thoroughly relevant reported cases to enrich the clinical experience of SCTs in the pediatric group.

Keywords: Children; Isosexual pseudoprecocious puberty; Ovarian tumors; Steroid cell tumors.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / complications*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery
  • Puberty, Precocious / etiology*
  • Sex Cord-Gonadal Stromal Tumors / complications*
  • Sex Cord-Gonadal Stromal Tumors / surgery