Ovarian mucinous cystadenoma

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 20 Sep 2021

Mucinous cystadenoma of the ovary is at the benign end of the spectrum of mucin-containing epithelial ovarian tumors.

The estimated peak incidence is at around 30-50 years of age. 

They comprise approximately 80% of mucinous ovarian tumors and 20-25% of all benign ovarian tumors.

The tumors are lined by columnar epithelium, typically similar to endocervical epithelium, though occasionally an intestinal-type may be seen. These cells secrete thick, gelatinous mucin which fills the locules 5

Mucinous cystadenomas tend to be larger than serous cystadenomas at presentation 1. Bilaterality is rare (2-5%). Mural calcification is more common than serous tumors 6

  • typically large cystic adnexal mass
  • multilocular with numerous thin septations
  • loculations may contain low-level internal echogenicity due to increased mucin content
    • different locules may contain various degrees of echogenicity

Mucinous cystadenomas are usually seen as large multilocular cysts containing fluid of various viscosity. Due to this reason, the loculi of the tumors often show variable signal intensities on both T1 and T2 sequences. This can sometimes give a “stained glass” appearance. They rarely appear as unilocular cysts.

A mucinous cystadenoma is benign with excellent prognosis (cf. borderline mucinous tumors of the ovary or mucinous cystadenocarcinoma of the ovary). Nonetheless, they are frequently surgically excised for histological confirmation of benignity, and due to mass effect of the large tumors.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: gross pathology
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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5
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  • Case 6
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  • Case 8
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  • Case 9
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  • Case 10
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  • Case 11
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  • Case 12: ovarian mucinous cystadenoma identified in pregnancy (MRI)
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