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  • Sertoli-Leydig Cell Tumor

    Sertoli-Lydig cell tumors (SLCTs), also known as androblastoma or arrhenoblastoma, are a type of sex cord-stromal tumor that originates in the ovaries.

    Typically, SLCTs are benign (noncancerous); less than 5% of these tumors are malignant (cancerous). Sertoli-Lydig cell tumors are very rare.

    They represent less than 0.2% of all ovarian tumors. SLCT typically affects young women, with an average patient age of 25. 10% of patients are over the age of fifty.

    Signs and Symptoms (Pathophysiology)

    Symptoms can include infrequent or no menstrual periods, the development of facial hair, a hoarse voice, increased muscle mass, acne, and clitoromegaly. Most of SLCT’s symptoms are caused by extra testosterone in the body. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that SLCTs secrete. Other symptoms that a patient may experience are abdominal pain and swelling.

    Diagnosis and Staging

    Ovarian tumors are diagnosed by a physician during a pelvic exam or other physical examination. If the tumor is accompanied by high levels of testosterone, the tumor could be a Sertoli-Lydic cell tumor. These high levels of hormones, however, are only found in about one-third of patients. As a result, cells from the tumor must be biopsied (excised) and studied under a microscope for an accurate diagnosis.


    Treatment for SLCT depends upon the age of the patient, the degree of differentiation of the tumor, and whether or not the tumor has ruptured. A fertility-sparing unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy surgery is typically used to remove SLCT. If advanced, a more aggressive surgery is performed. Malignant tumors may require further chemotherapy or radiation therapy following the operation. After the removal of the tumor, normal menses should reappear within four weeks.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Prognosis of SLCT depends on the stage and degree of differentiation of the tumor. Since these tumors are typically benign and their growth is slow, outlook is generally very positive. However, if malignant, 66% of tumors will reappear within a year; 6.6% will reoccur within five years.