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Challenging Salpingectomy as a Risk-Reducing Measure for Ovarian Cancer: Histopathological Analysis of the Tubo-Ovarian Interface in Women Undergoing Risk-Reducing Salpingo-oophorectomy
  1. Chloe Ayres, MRANZCOG*,
  2. Gayanie Ratnayake, FRCPA,
  3. Orla McNally, FRANZCOG* and
  4. Michael Quinn, CGO*
  1. * Departments of Gynaecological Oncology and
  2. Anatomical Pathology, The Royal Women's Hospital, Parkville, Australia.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Chloe Ayres, MRANZCOG, The Royal Hospital for Women, Barker Street, Randwick, NSW, 2031, Australia. E-mail: chloe.ayres{at}


Objective Opportunistic bilateral salpingectomy is now promoted for women at the time of hysterectomy for a benign disease, consequent to the fimbrial end of the fallopian tube emerging as the primary site for carcinogenesis in high-grade serous carcinomas. In high-risk women with an identified germ line mutation, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy offers the greatest risk reduction for ovarian cancer. Currently, no prospective evidence exists with respect to the effectiveness of opportunistic salpingectomy alone in preventing ovarian cancer. Although it is thought that there is no direct connection between the ovary and its adjacent fallopian tube, we often find remnants of the fimbria adherent to the ovary at the time of surgery. If this tubo-ovarian interface is not separate, then practices such as salpingectomy and radical fimbriectomy may be incomplete, and the effectiveness of this technique as a prophylactic strategy may need reconsideration. We aimed to establish whether there might exist a direct attachment of the fimbria to the ovary by examining this interface in surgically removed specimens.

Methods The tubes and ovaries of 20 women undergoing risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy were examined using the Sectioning and Extensively Examining the Fimbriated End of the Tubes protocol and p53 immunohistochemistry for lesions suspicious of serous intraepithelial tubal carcinoma.

Results Three specimens showed fimbria adherent to the ovary at the histopathological analysis. One p53 signature was identified, but there were no occult cancers or serous intraepithelial tubal carcinomas.

Conclusions Although only a small study, the findings show that microscopic fimbriae are adherent to the ovary. This relationship challenges the recommendation for bilateral salpingectomy alone for risk-reducing surgery because the primary site of carcinogenesis may be left on the ovary to later develop into a high-grade serous carcinoma. A larger study is needed to assess our findings related to the tubo-ovarian interface and its implications for long-term ovarian cancer development. Until then, caution on using this technique alone in the high-risk patient should be adopted.

  • BRCA
  • Salpingectomy
  • Risk-reducing surgery
  • Tubo-ovarian interface
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.