Research Article| Volume 9, ISSUE 4, P325-338, March 1988

Hormonal activity of epithelial ovarian tumours in post-menopausal women

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.


      Concentrations of progesterone and oestradiol in peripheral serum and tumour cyst fluid were measured in 42 post-menopausal women with epithelial ovarian tumours (17 cancer, 6 borderline malignant, 19 benign tumours) and in 19 post-menopausal women without ovarian neoplasms. The hormonal response of the endometrium was assessed, progestogen and oestrogen receptor content in the tumour tissue case recorded, and tumour deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) ploidy was measured by flow cytometry.
      No significant differences were found between the mean serum steroid levels in patients with malignant, borderline or benign tumours, but the mean serum levels of oestradiol in patients with malignant or benign ovarian tumours were higher than those in the controls. Endometrial hormonal activity was seen in 19% of the samples studied. Malignant and benign mucinous epithelial tumours were the types most frequently associated with hormonal activity. Increased levels of sex steroids were seen in the cyst fluid of serous malignant and borderline malignant tumours, while benign tumours were inactive.
      The steroid receptor content of the various tumour types did not vary significantly. Ten (59%) out of 17 ovarian carcinomas were found to be aneuploid and 41% diploid as measured by flow cytometry. No significant differences in serum levels of progesterone and oestradiol were found between aneuploid and diploid ovarian carcinomas.
      These results contribute to our knowledge of the hormonal activity of epithelial ovarian tumours in post-menopausal women.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Maturitas
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Edwards RL
        • Nicholson HO
        • Zoidis T
        • Butt WR
        • Taylor WW
        Endocrine studies in post-menopausal women with ovarian tumours.
        J. Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. 1971; 78: 467-477
        • Heinonen PK
        • Tuimala R
        • Pyykkö K
        • Pystynen P
        Peripheral venous concentrations of oestrogens in postmenopausal women with ovarian cancer.
        Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1982; 89: 84-86
        • Rome RM
        • Fortune DW
        • Quinn MA
        • Brown JB
        Functioning ovarian tumours in postmenopausal women.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1981; 57: 705-710
        • Vesterinen E
        • Purola E
        • Wahlström T
        Oestrogenic activity associated with ovarian cystadenomas after the menopause.
        Ann Chir Gynaecol. 1978; 67: 109-111
        • Cramer DW
        • Welch WR
        Determinant of ovarian cancer risk. II. Interferences regarding pathogenesis.
        J Natl Cancer Inst. 1983; 71: 717-721
        • Scatchard G
        The attraction of proteins for small molecules and ions.
        Ann NY Acad Sci. 1949; 51: 660-672
        • Lowry OH
        • Rosebrough NJ
        • Farr AL
        • Randall RJ
        Protein measurement with the Folin-phenol reagent.
        J Biol Chem. 1951; 193: 265-275
        • Schutte B
        • Reynders MMJ
        • Bosman FT
        • Blijham GH
        Flow cytometric determination of DNA-ploidy level in nuclei isolated from paraffin embedded tissue.
        Cytometry. 1985; 6: 26-30
        • Kallioniemi O-P
        • Hietanen T
        • Mattila J
        • Lehtinen M
        • Lauslahti K
        • Koivula T
        Aneuploid DNA content and high S-phase fraction of tumour cells are related to poor prognosis in patients with primary breast cancer.
        Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol. 1987; 23: 277-282
        • Bäckström T
        • Mählck C-G
        • Kjellren O
        Progesterone as a possible tumor marker for “nonendocrine” ovarian malignant tumours.
        Gynecol Oncol. 1983; 16: 129-138
        • Heinonen PK
        • Koivula T
        • Pystynen P
        Elevated progesterone levels in serum and ovarian venous blood in patients with ovarian tumours.
        Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1985; 64: 649-652
        • James VHT
        • Reed MJ
        • Folkerd EJ
        Studies of oestrogen metabolism in postmenopausal women with cancer.
        J. Steroid Biochem. 1981; 15: 235-246
        • Reed MJ
        • Beranek PA
        • Ghilchik MW
        • James VHT
        Conversion of estrone to estradiol and estradiol to estrone in postmenopausal women.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1985; 66: 361-365
        • Heinonen PK
        • Koivula T
        • Rajaniemi H
        • Pystynen P
        Peripheral and ovarian venous concentrations of steroid and gonadotropin hormones in postmenopausal women with epithelial ovarian tumors.
        Gynecol Oncol. 1986; 25: 1-10
        • Aiman J
        • Forney JP
        • Parker Jr, CR
        Secretion of androgens and estrogens by normal and neoplastic ovaries in postmenopausal women.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1986; 68: 1-5
        • Eddie DAS
        Ovarian stromal response to neoplasia and the relationship with hormone production.
        J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. 1967; 74: 286-291
        • Fathalla MF
        The role of the ovarian stroma in hormone ovarian tumours.
        J. Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. 1968; 75: 78-83
        • Pfleiderer Jr, A
        • Teufel G
        Hormone production in ovarian carcinomas.
        in: Histochemical approach in stroma reaction. Öster Z Onkol. 3. 1976: 83-90
        • Scott JS
        • Lumsden CL
        • Levell MJ
        Ovarian endocrine activity in association with hormonally inactive neoplasia.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1967; 97: 161-170
        • Stearns HC
        • Sneeden VD
        • Fearl JD
        A clinical and pathologic review of ovarian stromal hyperplasia and its possible relationship to common diseases of the female reproductive system.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1974; 119: 375-381
        • MacDonald PC
        • Grodin J
        • Edman C
        • Vellios F
        • Siiteri PK
        Origin of oestrogen in a postmenopausal woman with a nonendocrine tumor of the ovary and endometrial hyperplasia.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1976; 47: 644-650
        • Cotton DB
        • Hanson FW
        • Oi RH
        A mucinous cystadenoma associated with testosterone production.
        J Reprod Med. 1981; 26: 276-278
        • Quinn MA
        • Baker HWG
        • Rome R
        • Fortune D
        • Brown JB
        Response of a mucinous ovarian tumor of borderline malignancy to human chorionic gonadotropin.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1983; 61: 121-126
        • Zaloudek C
        • Kurman RJ
        Recent advances in the pathology of ovarian cancer.
        Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 1983; 10: 155-185
        • Woodruff JD
        • Bie LS
        • Sherman RJ
        Mucinous tumors of the ovary.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1960; 16: 699-712
        • Hustin J
        Morphology and DNA content of endometrial cancer nuclei under progestogen treatment.
        Acta Cytol. 1976; 20: 556-558
        • Whitehead MI
        The effects of oestrogens and progestogens on the postmenopausal endometrium.
        Maturitas. 1978; 1: 87-98
        • Geier GR
        • Strecker JR
        Aspiration cytology and E2 content in ovarian tumors.
        Acta Cytol. 1981; 25: 400-406
        • Fox H
        Estrogenic activity of the serous cystadenoma of the ovary.
        Cancer. 1965; 18: 1041-1047
        • Nieminen U
        • Purola E
        Pathology associated with ovarian cystadenomas and cystadenocarcinomas.
        Ann Chir Gynaecol Fenn. 1969; 58: 255-259
        • Quinn MA
        • Pearce P
        • Rome R
        • Funder JW
        • Fortune D
        • Pepperell RJ
        Cytoplasmic steroid receptors in ovarian tumours.
        Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1982; 89: 754-759
        • Vierikko P
        • Kauppila A
        • Vihko R
        Cytosol and nuclear estrogen and progestin receptors and 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity in non-diseased tissue and in benign and malignant tumors of the human ovary.
        Int J Cancer. 1983; 32: 413-422
        • Schwartz PE
        • Merino MJ
        • Livolsi VA
        • Lawrence R
        • MacLusky N
        • Eisenfeld A
        Histopathologic correlations of estrogen and progestin receptor protein in epithelial ovarian carcinomas.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1985; 66: 428-433
        • Friedlander ML
        • Hedley DW
        • Taylor IW
        • Russell P
        • Coates AS
        • Tattersall MHN
        Influence of cellular DNA content on survival in advanced ovarian cancer.
        Cancer Res. 1984; 44: 397-400
        • Rodenburg CJ
        • Cornelisse CJ
        • Heintz PAM
        • Hermans J
        • Fleuren GJ
        Tumor ploidy as a major prognostic factor in advanced ovarian cancer.
        Cancer. 1987; 59: 317-323
        • Geisinger KR
        • Kute TE
        • Marshall RB
        • Homesley HD
        • Morgan TM
        Analysis of the relationship of the ploidy and cell cycle kinetics to differentiation and the female sex steroid hormone receptors in adenocarcinoma of the endometrium.
        Am J Clin Pathol. 1986; 85: 536-541