Low-stage high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas: Support for an extraovarian origin

Elizabeth Morency, Mario M. Leitao, Robert A. Soslow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Many adnexal high-grade serous carcinomas (HGSCs) may derive from microscopic precursors in the fallopian tube. By studying a series of low-stage ovarian carcinomas, we anticipated that HGSCs would be distributed in a pattern suggesting secondary involvement, helping to indirectly validate the fallopian tube origin theory, and that most ovarian carcinomas other than serous carcinomas would demonstrate features consistent with derivation from precursors located in or transplanted to the ovary. Seventy-six patients with low-stage (FIGO I/II) sporadic ovarian carcinoma who underwent primary surgical management at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1980 to 2000 were included in the study. Histologic type was assigned using Gilks' criteria. Similar to the approach taken when distinguishing primary and metastatic mucinous or endometrioid carcinoma involving ovary, cases interpreted as showing a "primary" pattern of ovarian involvement had ≥3 of the following features: unilateral tumor, size >12 cm, no surface involvement, no multinodularity, and no destructive stromal invasion. All other cases were considered to show a "metastatic" pattern of ovarian involvement. Cases were evaluated for p53 and WT-1 expression, using standard techniques on a tissue microarray. TP53 gene sequencing was also performed. Cases comprised HGSC (n=22), endometrioid carcinoma (n=30), clear cell carcinoma (n=13), and mucinous carcinoma (n=11). HGSCs displayed substantially more "metastatic features" than the non-HGSC group and a mean overall size that was smaller (8.85 vs. 14.1 cm). Statistically significant differences were found for bilaterality (63% vs. 7.3%), P=0.0001; multinodularity (55% vs. 7.3%), P=0.0001; tumor size, P=0.003; and surface involvement (50% vs. 13%), P=0.002. Five of 22 (23%) of HGSCs showed a "primary pattern" of ovarian involvement. There were no significant differences between these cases and "metastatic pattern" HGSCs when comparing morphology, immunophenotype, TP53 mutational status, and clinical outcomes. Most low-stage HGSCs demonstrate patterns of ovarian involvement that suggest metastasis from another source, such as the fallopian tube. Both metastatic pattern HGSCs and unilateral, low-stage HGSCs can behave aggressively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecological Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Fallopian tube
  • Low-stage
  • Metastasis
  • Ovary
  • Serous carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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