Ovarian carcinoma initially presenting as metastatic axillary lymphadenopathy

Steven Hockstein*, Pacita Keh, John R. Lurain, David A. Fishman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background. Ovarian carcinoma usually presents at advanced stage due to diffuse intraabdominal disease. Presenting signs and symptoms often relate to the degree of intraabdominal spread. It is rare to have distant lymph node metastases, in conjunction with minimal intraabdominal disease, at initial presentation. Case. A 78-year-old woman was noted to have an enlarged axillary lymph node on a routine, screening mammogram. Biopsy revealed metastatic adenocarcinoma, consistent with primary breast cancer. Physical examination, diagnostic mammogram, and magnetic resonance imaging of the breasts were normal. A pelvic computed tomography scan revealed a 7-cm complex, right adnexal mass. At exploratory laparotomy, there was minimal intraabdominal tumor burden; only a 6-cm right ovarian tumor and a single 1.0-cm nodule adherent to the bladder peritoneum were found. After optimal cytoreductive surgery, she received tamoxifen for presumed metastatic breast cancer. One year later, recurrent disease developed in the pelvis. After reexploration and excision of all gross pelvic disease, a revised diagnosis of recurrent ovarian cancer was made, and therapy was changed to carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy. The patient is currently without evidence of disease. Conclusion. Ovarian carcinoma usually presents with signs and symptoms related to the tumor burden within the peritoneal cavity. The finding of isolated, distant metastatic lymphadenopathy with minimal intraabdominal disease is very unusual. Immunohistochemical tumor markers can help determine the origin of a metastatic adenocarcinoma when the clinical presentation is atypical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-547
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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