Ovarian tumours

Ovarian tumours are relatively common and account for ~6% of female malignancies. This article focuses on the general classification of ovarian tumours. For specific features, refer to the subarticles.


Primary ovarian tumours

Surface epithelial-stromal ovarian tumours (60-70%):

* sometimes classified as a separate category rather than under epithelial 7

Germ cell ovarian tumours (~20%):

Sex cord / stromal ovarian tumours (8-10%):


These are uncommon:

Classification according to morphology
Predominantly cystic
Predominantly solid
Serological tests
  • CA-125 levels: elevated in most ovarian malignancies (~80% in general); some mucinous and germ cell tumours may not secrete this marker
  • AFP levels: elevated particularly with immature ovarian teratomas (~50% of cases) and ovarian yolk sac tumours
  • β HCG: in a small number of dysgerminomas
  • human epididymis protein 4 (HE4): elevated in malignant ovarian diseases, being helpful to complement the Ca-125 in premenopausal women 
Risk factors
General risk factors include
  • nulliparity
  • early menopause 
  • gonadal dysgenesis
  • family history: contributes to 24% of cases of epithelial ovarian cancer14
    • BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations: particularly for serous types
    • Lynch syndrome-associated ovarian cancers most often have an endometrioid or serous type histology 14
  • smoking: especially for mucinous adenocarcinoma
  • previous history of breast, endometrial or colon cancer (Lynch II)
  • certain ethnic groups
Protective factors
  • oral contraceptives
  • breastfeeding (this is controversial)
Risk assessment


The FIGO staging system is used for almost all of the ovarian cancers: see ovarian cancer staging.

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Article information

rID: 5616
System: Gynaecology
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian tumour
  • Ovarian neoplasm
  • Ovarian malignancy
  • Tumours of the ovary
  • Ovarian cancers
  • Malignancies of the ovary
  • Cancers of the ovary
  • Ovarian tumors
  • Ovarian cancer : general
  • Ovarian tumours : general
  • Ovarian neoplasms

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Cases and figures

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    Ovarian mucinous ...
    Figure 1: gross pathology: mucinous cystadenoma
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    Case 1: ovarian mature cystic teratoma
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    Figure 2: gross pathology: Brenner tumour
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    Mucinous ovarian ...
    Case 2: mucinous ovarian tumour
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    Ovarian fibroma m...
    Figure 3: gross pathology: ovarian fibroma
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    Case 3: ovarian cancer with peritoneal carcinomatosis
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    Krukenberg tumour...
    Figure 4: gross pathology: Krukenburg tumour
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    Case 4: ovarian serous cystadenoma
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    Sclerosing stroma...
    Figure 5: gross pathology: sclerosing stromal tumour of the ovary (SST)
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    Case 5: ovarian teratoma
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    Case 6: ovarian mucinous cystadenoma
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    Case 7: ovarian serous cystadenofibroma
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    Serous cystadenoc...
    Case 8: ovarian serous cystadenocarcinoma
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    Case 9: endometrioid adenocarcinoma of ovary
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