Although excess production of androgens and glucocorticoids has often been observed in adrenocortical carcinomas, adrenocortical adenoma with such hormonal activity is rare. Herein, we report a 41-year-old woman who presented with hyperandrogenemia and mild autonomous cortisol secretion with an undetectable level of adrenocorticotropic hormone. Imaging demonstrated a 6 cm left adrenal tumor. The histologic diagnosis of the resected adrenal tumor was adrenocortical adenoma. Pre- and post-operative serum samples were used for steroid profiling with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). LC-MS/MS analysis of pre-operative serum revealed an abnormal buildup of steroid precursors and androgens. Importantly, circulating levels of 11-oxygenated androgens, including 11β-hydroxytestosterone (11OHT) and 11-ketotestosterone (11KT), were highly elevated. Both androgen and glucocorticoid levels significantly decreased post-operatively. Immunohistochemical analysis of steroidogenic enzymes and cofactor protein supported the tumor’s ability to directly produce 11OHT and 11KT. This study is the first to describe and characterize an adrenocortical adenoma that co-secretes glucocorticoids and 11-oxygenated androgens.
Due to its rarity, biochemical and histologic characteristics of androgen and glucocorticoid co-secreting adrenocortical adenomas are largely unknown. Herein, we report a case of adrenocortical adenoma that caused marked hyperandrogenemia and mild autonomous cortisol secretion. In this study, we investigated serum steroid profiles using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and histologic characteristics of the resected tumor. LC-MS/MS revealed highly elevated levels of 11-oxygenated androgens which have not been well studied in adrenal tumors. The expression patterns of steroidogenic enzymes determined by immunohistochemistry supported the results of steroid profiling and suggested the capacity of the tumor cells to produce 11-oxygenated androgens. Measurement of 11-oxygenated steroids should facilitate a better understanding of androgen-producing adrenocortical neoplasms.