Peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma, a phenotypic variant of familial ovarian cancer: implications for ovarian cancer screening

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Apr;180(4):917-28. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(99)70663-0.


Objective: Our purpose was to report the cancers arising during a familial ovarian cancer screening program and investigate the tumor's clonality and association with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

Study design: Program participants with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer or peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma were identified and their demographic characteristics, ultrasonographic findings, CA 125 results, operative reports, and pathology slides reviewed. Immunohistochemical analysis of p53, bcl-2, HER-2/neu, and nm23 H1 expression was performed on tumor tissues from multiple metastatic sites, and germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations were identified.

Results: Three stage I ovarian cancers and 7 cases of peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma were diagnosed from among 1261 program participants. Ultrasonographic abnormalities triggered surgical exploration in all 3 cases of stage I disease. Elevated levels of CA 125 were the harbinger in 2 of 7 cases of peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma, abnormal ultrasonographic findings prompted diagnosis in 2 of 7 cases, and 3 of 7 women had abdominal symptoms 5, 6, and 16 months after screening. Results of immunohistochemical studies suggested multifocal disease in 5 of 7 patients with peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma. At least 3 of the patients with peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma carry BRCA1 185delAG mutations.

Conclusion: Multifocal peritoneal serous papillary carcinoma may be a phenotypic variant of familial ovarian cancer, and screening strategies for these women cannot rely on ultrasonography and CA 125 testing to detect early disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • CA-125 Antigen / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / genetics
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / diagnosis*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / diagnostic imaging
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mass Screening* / methods
  • Mass Screening* / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color


  • BRCA2 Protein
  • CA-125 Antigen
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Transcription Factors