From diagnosis to treatment of androgen-secreting ovarian tumors: a practical approach

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2022 Jul;38(7):537-542. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2022.2083104. Epub 2022 Jun 1.


About 5% of all ovarian tumors develop some form of hormonal activity. Only 1% of ovarian tumors will secrete androgens causing clinical hyperandrogenism. Most androgen-secreting neoplasms (ASN) derive from sex cord or stroma cells of the ovary and may affect both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Typically, a patient will present reporting symptoms of rapidly increasing hyperandrogenization such as: hirsutism, acne, frontal/male pattern balding, and in severe cases even virilization. Sertoli-Leydig Cell Tumors are the most frequent ASN and constitute about 0.5% of all ovarian neoplasms. Typically affecting women under 30 years of age, these tumors are usually unilateral and benign. They are also the most common tumor in postmenopausal women suffering with hyperandrogenism. Other tumors originating from the sex-cord stroma are also known to develop in this population, but the incidence of these is much lower. Approaching suspected hyperandrogenemia and its related symptoms in a clinical setting can be a significant diagnostic challenge. When evaluating a patient for hyperandrogenism, it is important to assess the severity of symptoms but most of all it is critical to assess the time of onset and dynamics of symptom progression. Diagnostic tools including laboratory tests and imaging studies should also be engaged. When deriving a differential diagnosis for androgen-secreting ovarian tumors, adrenal gland tumors should be considered as well as typical endocrine pathologies including polycystic ovary syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Cushing's disease, and acromegaly. Treatment options for an androgen-secreting ovarian tumors is mainly surgical, but in exceptional cases can involve pharmacotherapy alone.

Keywords: Androgen-secreting ovarian tumor; hyperandrogenemia; sex cord-stromal tumors; 分泌雄激素卵巢肿瘤; 性索间质肿瘤; 高雄激素血症.

MeSH terms

  • Androgens
  • Female
  • Hirsutism / etiology
  • Hirsutism / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperandrogenism* / diagnosis
  • Hyperandrogenism* / etiology
  • Male
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / complications
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / complications
  • Sertoli-Leydig Cell Tumor* / complications


  • Androgens