Case report Open Access
Androgenic adult granulosa cell tumor with secondary amenorrhea
and elevated luteinizing hormone
Kenji Niwa1*, Ryuichiro Yano2, Sakae Mori3, Yoshio Yamaguchi3, Nozomi Narikawa3 and Takuji Tanaka4
1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gujo City Hospital, Gujo-city, Gifu Pref, Japan.
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gifu University Post-graduate School of Medicine, Gifu-city, Gifu Pref, Japan.
3Section of Laboratory Medicine, Gujo City Hospital, Gujo-city, Gifu Pref, Japan.
4Director of The Tohkai Cytopathology Institute, Minami-Uzura, Gifu-city, Gifu Pref, Japan.
Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs), adult type, are the most common type of ovarian sex cord tumors. Menstrual irregularity, even
secondary amenorrhea is frequently observed in premenopausal women bearing GCTs with hormonal activity. We present here
in an extremely rare case of adult GCT in a patient presenting with secondary amenorrhea and serum testosterone (Test) and
luteinizing hormone (LH) elevations, and decreased estradiol (E2). A 32-year-old woman visited our hospital complaining of
secondary amenorrhea two years aer second delivery. Signs of virilisatoin, such as increased pubic hair and clitoromegaly were
present. A pelvic ultrasound scan revealed a right adnexal solid mass measuring 2.9x3.9 cm. Under the working diagnosis of sex-
cord tumor, the woman underwent a laparoscopic surgery of a right salpingo-oophorectomy and the tumor was collected from the
Douglas’ pouch. e tumor was diagnosed as an adult-type GCT stage IA. Spontaneous menstruation occurred and serum levels of
Test, LH, FSH and E2 showed normal ranges one month aer surgery. e patient is now healthy without evidence of a recurrence
30 months aer the surgery. Although s-Test and LH elevations in patients with GCT is rare and its mechanism is not clearly
understood, monitoring of s-Test and LH may provide an additional tumor marker aer conservative surgery in such patients.
Keywords: Granulosa cell tumor (GCT), ovary, androgenic, luteinizing hormone (LH), laparoscopic surgery
© 2013 Niwa et al; licensee Herbert Publications Ltd. is is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License
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Granulosa cell tumors
GCTs), adult type are the most common
type of ovarian sex cord tumors and account for 1-2% of
all ovarian tumors and 3-5% of all ovarian malignancies [
GCTs are usually diagnosed in early clinical stage and are also
renowned for late recurrences.
GCTs exhibits endocrine activity and many features of normal
granulosa cells, including FSH-binding, a response to FSH, and
the secretion of estrogen, inhibin , progesterone, androgen
[1,3,4] and Müllerian inhibiting substance . The presentation
of an adult GCTs accompanied by endocrinological symptoms
is often related to hyperestrogensim and varies according
to the age of patient. In premenopausal women, menstrual
irregularity, menorrhagia, or even secondary amenorrhea may
be the initial manifestation of GCTs .
We report here an extremely rare case of GCT associated
with secondary amenorrhea and elevated LH and testosterone.
A 32-year-old Japanese woman, gravida 2 para 2, visited our
hospital complaining of secondary amenorrhea two years after
second delivery. Signs of virilisataion, such as increased pubic
hair and clitoromegaly were present. A pelvic ultrasound scan
revealed a right adnexal solid mass measuring 2.9x3.9 cm. As
shown in (Table 1), her serum LH and Test were elevated to 18.1
mIU/ml (normal range: 1.76-10.24 in follicular phase) and 2.09
ng/ml (normal range: 0.11-0.47) respectively; meanwhile her
serum estradiol was relatively low: 33 pg/ml (normal range: 19-
226). Other hormones, such as FSH (5.13 mIU/ml) progesterone
(1.23 ng/ml) and prolactin were within normal range. Findings
of other routine laboratory tests and tumor markers [CA125,
6.0, CA19-9, 3.3 and CA72-4, 0.9 (ng/ml)] were also within
normal limits. Magnetic resonance image (MRI) showed a well-
circumscribed solid tumor producing high-intensity signals on
T2-weighted (Figure 1). Whole body CT examinations showed
no abnormal signs other than pelvic tumor.
Under the working diagnosis of sex-cord tumor, the
woman underwent a laparoscopic surgery of a right salpingo-
oophorectomy and the tumor was collected from the Douglas’
pouch, using by an Endopouch
. A small amount of ascites
was also collected. Cytology of the cut-surface of the resected
tumor suggested a sex-cord tumor (Figure 2). Macroscopically,
the resected ovarian tumor was solid and yellow (Figure 3).
Microscopically, the tumor consisted of monomorphilic small
cells with a trabecular pattern separated by a fibrothecomatous
stroma and coffee-bean like nuclei were frequently seen
). The tumor cells had small amounts of cytoplasm,
and pale and uniform nuclei with high cellular density and
without cellular atypia. Cytology of ascites was negative. On
immunohistocehmical evaluation, the tumor cells expressed
Niwa et al.
Figure 1. A well-circumscribed solid tumor (3.9x2.9 cm)
producing high-intensity signals on T2-weighted.
Figure 2. Cytology of the cut-surface of the resected tumor
suggested a sex-cord tumor (Papanicolaou stain, original
magnication: x 400).
Figure 3. Macroscopically, the resected ovarian tumor was
solid and yellow.
Figure 4. e tumor consisted of monomorphilic small cells
with a trabecular pattern separated by a brothecomatous
stroma (hematoxylin-eosin, original magnication: x 200).
strong and diffuse staining for androgen receptor (Dako). The
tumor cells showed positive staining for estrogen receptor
(Dako) and focally positive for inhibin (Dako). Based on these
findings, the tumor was diagnosed as an adult-type GCT
stage IA (FIGO).
The changes of hormonal data are present in (Table 1). On
the 5th day after the surgery, s-Test decreased to the normal
range, and the s-E2 increased to 60 pg/dl level. One month
after the surgery, the hormonal levels showed normal womens’
Pre-operative D5 aer
luteinizing hormone (mIU/mL) 18.1↑24.4↑2.93
Follicle stimulating hormone
5.13 19.5↑↑ 2.46
Estradiol (ng/mL) 33↓ ↓ 60↓171
Progesterone (ng/mL) 1.23 0.15 ND*
Testosterone (ng/mL) 2.09↑<0.16 <0.16
ones. Spontaneous menstruation occurred one month after
the surgery. The patient showed no signs of recurrence and
normal menstrual cycles 30 months after the surgery.
Table 1. Change of hormones.
*ND, not detremined.
Niwa et al.
We report here an extremely rare case of GCT associated with
secondary amenorrhea. GCTs typically produce estrogen,
however, in rare instances, they produce androgen. The clinical
manifestations may be related to an excess androgen produced
by GCTs. There have been several case reports of GCTs in
which patients have presented with secondary amenorrhea
[2,6]. Most of these cases were associated with baseline FSH
levels and high inhibin levels, but serum LH and E
normal in many cases . There have been only three cases
of GCTs associated with high LH levels. The present case has
shown clinically virilised and the pre-operatively elevated
s-Test levels return to normal range following the removal of
the ovarian tumor. In our case, an elevation of LH was thought
be have interfered with normal follicular development and
ovulation. LH levels returned to normal range and regular
menstruation occurred after the surgery.
In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCO) cases, serum LH levels
are high and secondary amenorrhea may occur. In the present
case, the presence of hormonal disorders, such as PCOs were
ruled out by the findings that the contralateral ovary showed
a normal appearance and the LH level decreased immediately
after the surgery.
The reason for the elevation of LH levels in the present case
is not clear. Immunohistochemical examination of the GCT
cells revealed the presence of androgen receptors. Based on
the two-cell hypothesis of estrogen production, granulosa
cells produce estradiol if the precursor Test is secreted by
adjacent theca cells. However, in androgenic GCTs, few theca
cells are present and it has been suggested that the granulosa
cells lack aromatase activity to varying degrees. It has been
reported that amenorrhea is the result of suppression of
gonadotropins by the high levels of Test .
In the present case, high level of LH and normal level of FSH
were present. The discrepancy of the LH and FSH levels, inhibin,
a glycoprotein hormone suppress pituitary FSH production
]. It can be suggested that the high s-Test induced atresia
of follicles in the normal ovary, GCT replacing in the ovarian
tissue, and resulted in secondary amenorrhea .
Unilateral oophorectomy is recommended treatment for
women with GCT who wish to preserve their productive
capacity . GCTs are low potential malignant neoplasms with
the capacity for local or lymphatic extension, particularly to
the para-aortic lymph nodes . Therefore, it is important to
have a circulating marker as an early predictor or recurrent
disease. Because an inhibin cannot be available in the clinical
use, the serum LH may be a good marker for a recurrence in
the present case.
An extremely rare case of adult type, granulosa cell tumor in
a 32-year-old patient presenting with secondary amenorrhea
and serum Test and LH elevations, and decreased E2 is reported.
After a laparoscopic surgery of a right salpingo-oophorectomy,
Authors’ contributions KN RY SM YY NN TT
Research concept and design ✓-- -- -- -- --
Collection and/or assembly of data ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ --
Data analysis and interpretation ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ --
Writing the article ✓-- -- -- -- --
Critical revision of the article ✓-- -- -- -- ✓
Final approval of article ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Statistical analysis -- -- -- -- -- --
spontaneous menstruation soon occurred and serum levels
of Test, LH and E2 showed normal ranges. The patient is now
healthy without evidence of a recurrence 30 months after the
surgery. Monitoring of s-Test and LH may provide an additional
tumor marker after conservative surgery in such patients.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
We thank the editor and reviewers for their constructive
comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript.
Editor: Jingsong Yuan, The University of Texas, USA.
EIC: Markus H. Frank, Harvard Medical School, USA.
Received: 03-Nov-2013 Revised: 26-Nov-2013
Accepted: 10-Dec-2013 Published: 21-Dec-2013
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