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Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary: A Rare Tumor With a Poor Prognosis
  1. Dimitrios Nasioudis, MD*,,
  2. Eloise Chapman-Davis, MD,
  3. Melissa K. Frey, MD,
  4. Thomas A. Caputo, MD,
  5. Steven S. Witkin, PhD and
  6. Kevin Holcomb, MD
  1. * Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and
  2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dimitrios Nasioudis, MD, 3400 Spruce St, 1 West Gates, Helen O. Dickens Center for Women's Health, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail: dimitrios.nasioudis{at}; dnasioudis{at}


Objective The aim of this study was to investigate the demographic and clinicopathological characteristics and prognosis of women diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the ovary.

Methods The National Cancer Data Base was accessed, and women diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the ovary, between 2004 and 2014 were identified. Median and 3- and 5-year overall survival (OS) rates were calculated following generation of Kaplan-Meir curves and compared with the log-rank test. A Cox multivariate model was constructed to identify variables associated with mortality.

Results A total 469 women were identified with a median age of 39 years; 81.7% of tumors were unilateral, whereas median size was 13 cm. Only 20.1% of patients had stage I disease. Women who underwent cancer-directed surgery had a 5-year OS rate of 24.1%. Five-year OS rates were 48.6%, 30.7%, 18%, and 12.3% for those with stages I, II, III, and IV disease, respectively, P < 0.001. Younger age (P = 0.013) and the combination of surgery with chemotherapy (CT) (P < 0.001) were associated with superior OS. By multivariate analysis, earlier disease stage and use of CT, but not patient age or performance of lymphadenectomy, were associated with lower mortality.

Conclusions Small cell carcinomas of the ovary are unilateral tumors primarily arising in premenopausal women. Multimodal treatment with cancer-directed surgery and CT results in a modest increase of a generally poor survival.

  • Ovary
  • Small cell carcinoma
  • Tumor

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.