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Gross appearance of a luteoma[1]

Luteoma are a very rare, benign neoplasia of germ cells, primarily the canine ovary[2].

These tumors, classified as a non-neoplastic sex cord stromal tumor, produce testosterone and in humans, is associated with virilization and male secondary sexual characteristics. Chorionic gonadotropin is believed to be the most important hormone contributing to this condition[3].

They occur more frequently in older, multiparous bitches or in bitches with ovarian remnant syndrome.

Clinically-affected dogs are usually older entire females with symptoms of persistent estrus despite being ovariectomized[4].

Abdominal distension and pain, peritoneal effusion and weight loss[5] are noted. One case presented with symptoms referable to hyperadrenocorticism, with polyuria, polydipsia and weight loss[6].

Ultrasonography or other imaging techniques may reveal an abdominal mass.

A tentative diagnosis requires histological examination of biopsied or excised tissue samples, and these tumors characteristically show dense sheets and nests of round to polyhedral cells with abundant, finely vesiculated cytoplasm.

Immunohistochemical analysis of samples is usually confirmatory, with positive staining by Calretinin, GATA-4, neuron-specific enolase and vimentin[7].

A differential diagnosis would include lymphoma, mesothelioma, rhabdomyosarcoma, dermoid cyst, sarcoid, dysgerminoma, teratoma, thecoma and granulosa cell tumor.

Surgical extirpation is usually curative.


  1. Pathyguy
  2. Ichimura R et al (2010) A case report of an uncommon sex-cord stromal tumor consisted of luteal and sertoli cells in a spayed bitch. J Vet Med Sci 72(2):229-234
  3. Garcia-Bunuel R et al (1975) Luteomas of pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 45:407–414
  4. McCandlish, IA et al (1979) Hormone producing ovarian tumours in the dog. Vet Rec 105:9–11
  5. Elena Gorman M et al (2010) What is your diagnosis? Peritoneal fluid from a 1-year-old female German Shepherd dog. Malignant teratoma. Vet Clin Pathol 39(3):393-394
  6. Yamini B et al (1997) Ovarian steroid cell tumor resembling luteoma associated with hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's disease) in a dog. Vet Pathol 34(1):57-60
  7. Durkes A et al (2012) Immunohistochemical characterization of nonhuman primate ovarian sex cord-stromal tumors. Vet Pathol 49(5):834-838