Ovarian carcinoid tumors

Last revised by Dr Aditya Shetty on 03 Jun 2016

Ovarian carcinoid tumors are very rare sub type of ovarian tumor. They are usually classified under ovarian germ cell tumors (monodermal teratoma 5). The term carcinoid tumor of the ovary can be used to described primary ovarian carcinoid tumors or metastatic carcinoid tumors to the ovary. The former are comparatively commoner.

As a group they are thought to account for 0.3% of all ovarian tumors and 0.5% of carcinoid tumors. They are commonly seen in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women 5.

Primary carcinoid tumors of the ovary are divided into four main types:

  • insular type: most common and the only type that is associated with the carcinoid syndrome 1
  • trabecular type
  • strumal type: second commonest type
  • mucinous type (goblet cell 4)

The majority of primary ovarian carcinoids occur in association with mature cystic teratoma, but a considerable number present in pure form.

Primary carcinoids of the ovary are invariably unilateral. They form a solid nodule within a cystic teratoma, or form a pure solid hypervascular mass. They can be  indistinguishable from other solid neoplasms of the ovary 5.

Lesions can markedly vary in size. Metastatic carcinoids are nearly always bilateral with scattered tumor deposits present  throughout both ovaries.

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