Effect of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy on sex steroid hormone serum levels among postmenopausal women: an NRG Oncology/Gynecologic Oncology Group study

Published:February 22, 2022DOI:


      Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy is an effective ovarian cancer risk reduction strategy. However, bilateral oophorectomy has also been associated with increased long-term nonneoplastic sequelae, effects suggested to be mediated through reductions in systemic sex steroid hormone levels. Currently, it is unclear whether the postmenopausal ovary contributes to the systemic hormonal milieu or whether postmenopausal ovarian volume or other factors, such as body mass index and age, affect systemic hormone levels.


      We examined the impact of oophorectomy on sex steroid hormone levels in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, we explored how well ovarian volume measured by transvaginal ultrasound correlated with direct ovarian measures obtained during surgical pathology evaluation and investigated the association between hormone levels and ovarian volumes.

      Study Design

      Postmenopausal women who underwent risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (180 cases) or ovarian cancer screening (38 controls) enrolled in an international, prospective study of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy and risk of ovarian cancer algorithm–based screening among women at increased risk of ovarian cancer (Gynecologic Oncology Group-0199) were included in this analysis. Controls were frequency matched to the cases on age at menopause, age at study entry, and time interval between blood draws. Ovarian volume was calculated using measurements obtained from transvaginal ultrasound in both cases and controls and measurements recorded in surgical pathology reports from cases. Serum hormone levels of testosterone, androstenedione, androstenediol, dihydrotestosterone, androsterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, estrone, estradiol, and sex hormone–binding globulin were measured at baseline and follow-up. Spearman correlation coefficients were used to compare ovarian volumes as measured on transvaginal ultrasound and pathology examinations. Correlations between ovarian volumes by transvaginal ultrasound and measured hormone levels were examined using linear regression models. All models were adjusted for age. Paired t tests were performed to evaluate individual differences in hormone levels before and after risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy.


      Ovarian volumes measured by transvaginal ultrasound were only moderately correlated with those reported on pathology reports (Spearman rho [ρ]=0.42). The median time interval between risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy and follow-up for the cases was 13.3 months (range, 6.0–19.3), and the median time interval between baseline and follow-up for the controls was 12.7 months (range, 8.7–13.4). Sex steroid levels decreased with age but were not correlated with transvaginal ultrasound ovarian volume, body mass index, or time since menopause. Estradiol levels were significantly lower after risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (percentage change, −61.9 post-risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy vs +15.2 in controls; P=.02), but no significant differences were seen for the other hormones.


      Ovarian volumes measured by transvaginal ultrasound were moderately correlated with volumes directly measured on pathology specimens and were not correlated with sex steroid hormone levels in postmenopausal women. Estradiol was the only hormone that declined significantly after risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy. Thus, it remains unclear whether the limited post–risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy changes in sex steroid hormones among postmenopausal women impact long-term adverse outcomes.

      Key words

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