Sex cord-stromal tumour

by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
October 17, 2022

What is a sex cord-stromal tumour?

The term sex cord-stromal tumour (SCT) refers to a group of tumours that start from specialized sex cord or stromal cells normally found in the ovary. Types of ovarian tumours in this group include fibroma, thecoma, adult-type granulosa cell tumour, juvenile-type granulosa cell tumour, and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumour.

Are sex cord-stromal tumours benign or malignant?

SCTs include both benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumours. Malignant types of SCTs include adult granulosa cell tumour and juvenile granulosa cell tumour. Benign types of SCTs include fibroma and thecoma. Sertoli-Leydig tumours can be either benign or malignant.

What is the most common type of sex cord-stromal tumour?

The most common type of SCT is the adult-type granulosa cell tumour.

What are the symptoms of a sex cord-stromal tumour?

The symptoms of a SCT depend on the specific tumour type. For example, most granulosa cell tumours will produce hormones such as estrogen which can lead to abnormal vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness. Some types of tumours such as fibromas and thecomas may not produce any symptoms and may only be discovered when pelvic imaging is performed for another reason.

What causes a sex cord-stromal tumour?

At the present time, we do not know what causes most SCTs.

How is the diagnosis of sex cord -stromal tumour made?

For most women, the diagnosis is only made when the entire tumour has been surgically removed and sent to a pathologist for examination.

What is an intraoperative consultation (frozen section)?

An intraoperative consultation is an opportunity for your surgeon and pathologist to examine the tumour, lymph nodes, or other tissue samples at the time of surgery. During this consultation, a frozen section may be performed where the tissue is quickly examined under the microscope. The purpose of an intraoperative consultation and frozen section is to provide your surgeon with information that will help guide decisions made at the time of surgery.

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