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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 174-178

Early-onset virilization may rarely be due to an adrenocortical neoplasm

Department of Endocrinology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kalyani Sridharan
Department of Endocrinology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Veerbhadra Marg, Rishikesh - 249 203, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipcares.ipcares_90_23

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Background: Adrenocortical tumors are rare neoplasms of childhood; most of which are functional in childhood, producing excess hormones. Virilization, precocious puberty, and Cushing's syndrome are common presenting features. Clinical Description: A 6-year-8-month-old girl presented with features of virilization, which started appearing at 2 ½ years of age. The mother gave a history of progressive enlargement of the clitoris with the development of pubic, axillary, and facial hair over the years. There was no history of perinatal complications, features of adrenal insufficiency, atypical external genitalia at birth, or family history of malignancy. On examination, she had features of heterosexual peripheral precocious puberty. The hormonal investigation was suggestive of cortisol and androgen excess. Radiologically, she had an adrenal tumor appearing like adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC)-large size, high noncontrast Hounsfield units, and poor washout. Management and Outcome: As virilization was not present since birth and there was no evidence of adrenal insufficiency, therefore, the possibility of congenital adrenal hyperplasia was unlikely. Investigations revealed that the testosterone levels were much higher than other adrenal androgen precursors like dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. This was a clinical clue to the well-differentiated and benign nature of the tumor although radiologically it appeared like ACC. The child underwent en bloc resection of the mass, and histopathology was suggestive of a benign adrenocortical adenoma. Seven days after surgery, the serum testosterone had dropped substantially. Conclusion: This case creates awareness about the possibility of an adrenocortical neoplasm in a child with early-onset virilization, which can be diagnosed correctly by following a step-wise, logical sequence of investigations.

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