Phenotypic comparison of Caucasian and Asian women with polycystic ovary syndrome a cross sectional study

Capsule:
Caucasian and Asian women with polycystic ovary syndrome living in the same geographic region have a similar prevalence of hirsutism and other markers for androgen excess.

Authors:
Erica T. Wang, M.D., M.S., Chia-Ning Kao, M.S., Kanade Shinkai, M.D., Ph.D., Lauri Pasch, Ph.D., Marcelle I. Cedars, M.D., Heather G. Huddleston, M.D.

Volume 100, Issue 1, Pages 214-218, July 2013

Abstract:

Objective:
To determine whether manifestations of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), particularly androgen excess, differ between Caucasian and Asian women in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Design:
Cross-sectional study.

Setting:
Multidisciplinary PCOS clinic at a tertiary academic center.

Patient(s):
121 Caucasian and 28 Asian women, aged 18–44, examined between 2006 and 2011 with PCOS verified by a reproductive endocrinologist and dermatologist according to the Rotterdam criteria.

Intervention(s):
Transvaginal ultrasounds, comprehensive dermatologic exams, and serum testing.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Hirsutism defined as a modified Ferriman-Gallwey (mFG) score ≥8, acne, androgenic alopecia, and biochemical hyperandrogenism.

Result(s):
Caucasian and Asian women had a similar prevalence of all measures of androgen excess. Both groups had similar total mFG scores and site-specific mFG scores, except Asian women had a lower site-specific mFG score for the chest. Although Asian women were more likely to use laser hair removal, the results were unchanged when the women with a history of laser hair removal were excluded.

Conclusion(s):
Caucasian and Asian women with PCOS living in the same geographic region had a similar prevalence of hirsutism as well as other markers for androgen excess. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the need for ethnic-specific mFG scores in women with PCOS.

  • Audrey Gaskins

    Interesting article on the phenotypic differences in Caucasian and Asian women diagnosed with PCOS. My main concern is that due to the small sample size, clinically relevant differences may not have achieved statistical significance. What jumped out at me was the concordance in rates of hirsutism but the discordance in rates of elevated serum androgen levels between Caucasian and Asian women with PCOS. Does the presence of hirsutism, acne, or the combination better predict elevated serum androgen levels in one ethnicity vs. the other? This would be of particular relevance to large epidemiologic studies which are unable measure serum androgens but rather rely on more clinical markers such as acne or hirsutism.

Translate »