A 28-year old female patient with virilization due to left adrenocortical adenoma was studied. The patient had clinical features of hyperandrogenism such as hirsutism and a low pitched voice, but not of hypercorticoidism. Plasma testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) were high. Although the basal plasma cortisol concentration and urinary excretion of 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17-OHCS) were within the normal range, the absence of diurnal variation in plasma cortisol and loss of suppressibility by dexamethasone suggested constitutive secretion of cortisol by the tumor. Inappropriate cortisol secretion was also supported by blunted ACTH response to provocative stimuli. After successful removal of the left adrenal tumor, such endocrinological abnormalities were all normalized. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that tumor cells were positively stained for C21 hydroxylase cytochrome P-450 (P-450C21) and P-45011β which convert 17-hydroxy (OH) progesterone to cortisol as well as P-450SCC, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and P-45017α which are involved in testosterone biosynthesis. These findings suggest that adrenocortical adenoma secretes predominantly testosterone and constitutively cortisol in a young woman patient with virilization.
- Adrenocortical virilization
- Subclinical Cushing's syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism