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Overview of epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum

Lee-may Chen, MD
Jonathan S Berek, MD, MMS
Section Editors
Barbara Goff, MD
Don S Dizon, MD, FACP
Deputy Editors
Sandy J Falk, MD, FACOG
Sadhna R Vora, MD


Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic malignancy in developed countries and the third most common gynecologic malignancy in developing countries (cervical cancer is the most common) [1]. The majority of ovarian malignancies (95 percent) are epithelial; the remainder arise from other ovarian cell types (germ cell tumors, sex cord-stromal tumors) (figure 1).

High-grade serous carcinoma, the most common histologic subtype of epithelial ovarian carcinoma, is regarded as closely related to fallopian tube and peritoneal serous carcinoma, based upon similarities in histology and clinical behavior. Some experts have proposed that these carcinomas all originate in the fallopian tubes. Based upon their common features, these carcinomas will be discussed as one clinical entity and referred to as epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) in this topic review. Distinctions between these conditions will also be addressed. (See "Pathogenesis of ovarian, fallopian tubal, and peritoneal serous carcinomas".)

An overview of EOC is presented here. Related topics are discussed in detail separately, including:

Pathogenesis (see "Pathogenesis of ovarian, fallopian tubal, and peritoneal serous carcinomas")

Histopathology (see "Epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum: Histopathology")

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 06, 2017.
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