Different Ovarian Tumor Types

Ovarian borderline tumors may differ in look but not in outcome

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Chin up, ladies. Don’t let those long and scary pathology words get you down. The type of cell found in an ovarian tumor doesn’t necessarily predict the outcome.

A recent study found that the type of surgery many ovarian tumor patients had was more likely to predict tumor recurrence, rather than the type of cell in the tumor.

Fertility-conserving surgery increased the odds of tumor return, as did incomplete staging. The type of tumor cell did not predict recurrence. 

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Stefanie Avril, MD, from the Department of Pathology at Technische Universität in Munich, Germany, was the lead expert. The small study looked at the tumor cells of 70 ovarian tumor patients and followed each patient for 63 months. The borderline ovarian tumors (BOT) were analyzed and categorized.

The International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FIGO) staging system was used to classify the severity of the tumors.

Stage I – The tumor is only inside the ovaries
Stage II – The tumor is also in the pelvis
Stage III – The cancer has spread to other organs or lymph nodes in the abdomen

Of the 70 tumor samples, 61 were stage I, three were stage II and six were stage III.

The types of tumors were broken down by occurrence: 34 were serous BOTs, and 36 were mucinous BOTs. The mucinous BOTs were subtyped as 30 intestinal and 6 endocervical. Meaning the tumor tissue was mucinous, but located in the abdomen or on the uterine side of the cervix.

At 63 months, 91 percent of the women did not see their ovarian cancer come back, and 99 percent were still alive.

Tumors came back in six of the stage I cases, three were serous, and two were mucinous (endocervical subtype). The average time it took for a tumor to come back was 27 months.

Of BOTs that came back, five were in patients who had fertility-conserving surgery, which is where they only remove the ovary with tumors, and one was in a patient who had both the ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

No higher rates of tumor recurrence were found based on the different types of BOT tumor cells. These authors concluded that tumor tissue examination did not do a very good job of predicting BOT coming back.

However, fertility-conserving surgery and incomplete surgical staging did link to higher risks for tumor recurrence.

This study was published in December in Gynecologic Oncology. No financial information was given. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 12, 2012
Last Updated:
December 19, 2012