Epithelial ovarian tumours

Ovarian epithelial tumours account for the majority of all ovarian tumours (60-70%) and their malignant forms represent >90% of ovarian cancers 1. They can range from being benign to highly malignant.

There is a difference in frequency of ovarian tumour subtypes depending on menopausal status 6:

  • premenopausal
    • serous (~60%)
    • mucinous (~20%)
    • endometrioid (~10%)
    • clear cell  (~5%)
    • other (~5%)
  • postmenopausal
    • serous (~60%)
    • endometrioid (~12.5%)
    • clear cell (~10%)
    • mucinous (~7.5%)
    • other (~10%)

The origin and pathogenesis of epithelial ovarian cancer are poorly understood 5. Despite extensive studies, no precursor lesions have been found 5.

Ovarian epithelial neoplasms are histologically classified according to:

  1. resemblance to normal gynecological cell line 7
    • serous - resembling epithelium lining the Fallopian tubes
    • mucinous - resembling epithelium lining endocervix, containing intracytoplasmic mucin
    • endometrioid - resembling epithlium/stroma of uterine corpus
    • clear cell - comprising clear cells and hobnail cells
  2. grade of aggressiveness 7,8
    • several grading systems exist, and grading may differ according to histologic type
    • e.g. three-tier FIGO system, two-tier MDACC system for serous tumours

A more complete list of ovarian epithelial tumours is as follows:

* sometimes classified as a separate category rather than under epithelial 

These can range from being cystic, to solid, to anything in between. As a crude rule, the likelihood of malignancy increases with increasing solid-tissue elements and thicker septae 2. While there are some common features, there are also many variations and it may be best to refer to subarticles for specific imaging features. 

Ultrasound - gynaecology
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Article information

rID: 18735
System: Gynaecology
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Ovarian epithelial tumours
  • Epithelial tumours of ovarian origin
  • Ovarian epithelial tumors
  • Epithelial ovarian tumors
  • Ovarian tumours of epithelial origin
  • Ovarian tumors of epithelial origin

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Cases and figures

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    Mucinous ovarian ...
    Case 1: ovarian mucinous cystadenoma
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    Case 2: ovarian serous cystadenoma
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    Serous cystadenoc...
    Case 3: ovarian serous cystadenocarcinoma
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    Case 4: ovarian serous cystadenofibroma
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    Case 5: ovarian endometrioid carcinoma
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    Bilateral complex...
    Case 6: bilateral ovarian serous cystadenocarcinoma
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