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Ovarian tumors of borderline malignancy: a review of 247 patients from 1991 to 2004
  1. H. F. Wong,
  2. J. J.H. Low,
  3. Y. Chua,
  4. I. Busmanis,
  5. E. H. Tay and
  6. T. H. Ho
  1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology Unit, KK Women's & Children's Hospital, Singapore
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Wong Heng Fok, MBBS, MRCOG, Department of Gynaecological Oncology Unit, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, 100 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 229899. Email: wong.heng.fok{at}


Borderline ovarian tumors account for 15% of epithelial ovarian cancers and are different from invasive malignant carcinoma. Majority are early stage, occurring in women in the reproductive age group, where fertility is important. We reviewed retrospectively 247 such cases treated at the Gynaecological-Oncology Unit, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, between January 1991 and December 2004. The mean age was 38 years (16–89 years). Majority of the cases (92%) were FIGO stage I (Ia, 75%; Ib, 1%; and Ic, 16%). Seven (3.5%) patients were diagnosed as having stage II disease, six (2.5%) as stage IIIa, two (1%) as stage IIIb, and four (2%) as stage IIIc. Histological origin was as follows: mucinous (68%), serous (26%), endometrioid (2.6%), and clear cell (1.2%). Primary surgical procedures undertaken were as follows: hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (52%), unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (33%), or ovarian cystectomy (15%). Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered in 13 patients (5.2% of cases), of which 4 patients were given chemotherapy only because of synchronous malignancies. There were six recurrences (2.4% of cases). Overall mean time to recurrence was 59 months. Recurrence rate for patients who underwent a primary pelvic clearance was 1.6% compared to fertility-sparing conservative surgery (3.3%; although P= 0.683). No significant difference was noted in recurrence and mortality between staged versus unstaged procedures. The overall survival rate was 98.0%. There were a total of five deaths (2.8%): three (1.5%) from invasive ovarian/peritoneal carcinoma and two from synchronous uterine malignancies. It appears that surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment, with conservative surgery where fertility is desired or pelvic clearance if the family is complete. Surgical staging is important to identify invasive extraovarian implants that portend an adverse prognosis. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy is not established.

  • borderline ovarian tumors
  • mucinous borderline tumors
  • serous borderline tumors
  • tumors of low malignant potential

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