Oestrogen producing adrenocortical tumours are extremely rare. We report a 65-year-old woman who presented with abnormal vaginal bleeding, with no significant abnormalities in her uterus or ovaries, who was found to have a right adrenal mass by radiological examination. Excessive secretion of oestrogens from the tumour was demonstrated by adrenal venous sampling. Basal levels of corticosteroids were within normal limits. Adrenalectomy was performed and pathological examination revealed an adrenocortical adenoma measuring 5.5 cm in its greatest dimension, in which both clear and compact tumour cells were observed. Oestrogen levels normalized following the removal of the adrenal mass. Tissue concentrations of oestrone and oestradiol in the tumour were 6.9 (69.5 pmol/g wet tissue weight) and 34.6 (93.6 pmol/g wet tissue weight)-fold greater respectively than those of adjacent non-neoplastic adrenal cortex. Aromatase activity in the tumour tissue determined by the 3H-water method was 118.6 pmol/h/mg protein, equivalent to that of a full-term human placenta. Immunohistochemical analysis of aromatase demonstrated immunoreactivity in the tumour cells, especially in compact cells, but not in adjacent non-neoplastic adrenal cells. This is the first reported case of an oestrogen producing adrenocortical adenoma in which aromatase in the tumour cells was documented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism