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Role of fertility-sparing surgery and further prognostic factors in borderline tumors of the ovary


Objective Borderline tumors of the ovary are a rare group of ovarian neoplasms with distinctive histological features. Considering their favorable prognosis and occurrence at a younger age, fertility-sparing surgery may be considered. Several risk factors have been identified as contributing to a higher recurrence rate, while the impact of pathohistological features varies in the literature. This study aimed to analyze risk factors for recurrence in patients with borderline tumors of the ovary.

Methods Analysis included patients treated with first diagnosis of a borderline tumor at our center between January 1997 and December 2022 to analyze disease-free survival and to identify the role of fertility-sparing surgery, defined as preservation of at least one ovary, pathohistological features, and other prognostic factors for relapse. All stages classified according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) were included.

Results Among 507 patients, 26 patients (5.2%) had a recurrence, with 21 (4.1%) showing borderline histology and 5 (1%) with invasive relapses. Recurrence rate was higher following fertility-sparing surgery (p<0.0001). Median follow-up period was 49.2 (range 42.0–57.6) months. Among 153 patients (30.2%) who had fertility-sparing surgery, 21 (13.7%) experienced a recurrence (including one invasive relapse). Fertility-sparing surgery (HR 20; 95% CI 6.9 to 60; p<0.001), FIGO stage I with bilateral presence of tumor (HR 6.4; 95% CI 1.3 to 31; p=0.020), FIGO stage II (HR 15; 95% CI 3.4 to 68; p<0.001), FIGO stages III-IV (HR 38; 95% CI 10 to 140; p<0.001) in comparison with FIGO stage I with unilateral tumor, microinvasion (HR 8.6; 95% CI 2.7 to 28; p<0.001), and micropapillary growth patterns (HR 4.4; 95% CI 1.8 to 10; p=0.001) were identified as independent risk factors for recurrence in multivariate analysis. None of these factors were associated with an increased risk of disease-related death.

Conclusions Our study showed that although a fertility-preserving approach is associated with increased recurrence rates of a borderline tumor, it does not affect overall survival and can therefore be regarded as oncologically safe for patients desiring to preserve fertility. Additionally, presence of micropapillary patterns and microinvasion were identified as prognostic risk factors.

  • Ovarian Diseases
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Cytoreduction surgical procedures
  • Adnexal Diseases

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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