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Julie Sarfati, Anne Bachelot, Christiane Coussieu, Géri Meduri and Philippe Touraine


Evaluation of postmenopausal women with suspicion of androgen-secreting tumor.

Design and patients

We retrospectively studied 22 postmenopausal women referred to our center for suspicion of androgen-secreting tumor. All patients had clinical, biological, and morphological evaluation. In absence of adrenal tumors, ovarian surgery was most often proposed and immunohistochemistry (IHC) studies were performed.


Ovarian tumors were detected by ultrasound and/or magnetic resonance imaging in eight patients. Two adrenal androgen-secreting tumors were diagnosed by an adrenal computed tomography (CT) scan. The clinical presentation of the women with or without tumors was similar. Nevertheless, women with tumor exhibited significantly higher testosterone levels and lower basal FSH and LH levels than the other women (2.6±2.7 vs 0.9±0.9 ng/ml, P<0.05; 26.5±22.9 vs 66.5±26.0 IU/l, P<0.01; and 12.0±8.6 vs 24.1±8.9 IU/l, P<0.05 respectively). Based on a likelihood ratio test, patients with a tumor had 8.4 and 10.8 times higher risk of having a testosterone level ≥1.4 ng/ml or an FSH level ≤35 IU/l. Finally, IHC analysis with an anti-P450c17α antibody allowed the identification of an elevated number of ovarian androgen-producing cells in five patients in whom no tumor was found.


Androgen-secreting tumors are clinically difficult to discriminate from other causes of postmenopausal hyperandrogenism. Testosterone and FSH were the two discriminative markers in a multivariate analysis. Ovarian and adrenal tumors were detected by imaging studies. However, ovarian non-tumoral causes of hyperandrogenism may be difficult to detect with conventional histology.

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Anne Bachelot, Agnès Rouxel, Nathalie Massin, Jérome Dulon, Carine Courtillot, Christine Matuchansky, Yasmina Badachi, Anne Fortin, Bernard Paniel, Fabrice Lecuru, Marie-Aude Lefrère-Belda, Elisabeth Constancis, Elisabeth Thibault, Géri Meduri, Anne Guiochon-Mantel, Micheline Misrahi, Frédérique Kuttenn, Philippe Touraine and on behalf of the POF-GIS Study Group


Premature ovarian failure (POF) encompasses a heterogeneous spectrum of conditions, with phenotypic variability among patients. The etiology of POF remains unknown in most cases. We performed a global phenotyping of POF women with the aim of better orienting attempts at an etiological diagnosis.

Design and methods

We performed a mixed retrospective and prospective study of clinical, biological, histological, morphological, and genetic data relating to 357 consecutive POF patients between 1997 and 2008. The study was conducted at a reproductive endocrinology referral center.


Seventy-six percent of the patients presented with normal puberty and secondary amenorrhea. Family history was present in 14% of the patients, clinical and/or biological autoimmunity in 14.3%. Fifty-six women had a fluctuating form of POF. The presence of follicles was suggested at ultrasonography in 50% of the patients, and observed in 29% at histology; the negative predictive value of the presence of follicles at ultrasonography was 77%. Bone mineral density alterations were found in 58% of the women. Eight patients had X chromosomal abnormalities other than Turner's syndrome, eight other patients evidenced FMR1 pre-mutation. Two other patients had autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2 and 1.


A genetic cause of POF was identified in 25 patients, i.e. 7% of the whole cohort. POF etiology remains most often undiscovered. Novel strategies of POF phenotyping are in such content mandatory to improve the rate of POF patients for whom etiology is identified.