Hepatic disorders associated with exogenous sex steroids: MR imaging findings

  • Cathryn L. HuiEmail author
  • Zhen Jiang Lee
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. CME articles



To describe the MRI findings of the effects of exogenous sex steroids on the liver.


Estrogens, progesterone and synthetic testosterone are exogenous sex steroids that may result in a variety of liver diseases, including tumour formation and vascular disorders. These hormones are mainly administered in the form of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and anabolic steroids. Both are implicated in hepatic adenoma formation. The HNF-1α-mutated and inflammatory adenoma subgroups are more commonly seen in association with the OCP whereas there is an increased incidence of the β-catenin positive subtype with anabolic steroid use. Furthermore, anabolic steroids are associated with hepatocellular carcinoma resulting from malignant transformation of β-catenin positive adenomas. The oral contraceptive pill may also induce vascular disorders within the liver, some of which are related to the prothrombotic effect of the hormones, such as hepatic and portal vein thrombosis. Other hepatic vascular abnormalities resulting from exogenous sex steroids include veno-occlusive disease and peliosis hepatis.


MRI Liver Hepatic adenoma Oral contraceptive pill Anabolic steroids Exogenous sex steroids Hepatic vascular disorders 



We thank Hock Kua, pathologist, for reviewing the pathological findings in our cases.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash ImagingMonash HealthMelbourneAustralia

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