Ovarian endometriosis associated with ovarian carcinoma: a clinicopathological and immunohistochemical study

Gynecol Oncol. 2000 May;77(2):298-304. doi: 10.1006/gyno.2000.5765.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the incidence, the histopathological characteristics, and the proliferation activity of endometriosis and atypical endometriosis associated with ovarian carcinoma.

Methods: Microscopic slides of primary lesions from 127 patients with primary ovarian carcinoma were reviewed. The presence or absence of endometriosis and the transitions from typical endometriosis to atypical endometriosis and from atypical endometriosis to carcinoma were also histologically evaluated. Ki-67 immunoreactivity of typical and atypical endometriosis and carcinoma was examined. In addition, endometrial metaplasias were also evaluated.

Results: Of the 127 patients, 37 had endometriosis: 70% (30/43) had clear cell adenocarcinoma, 43% (3/7) had endometrioid adenocarcinoma, 7% (4/60) had serous adenocarcinoma, and none (0/17) had mucinous adenocarcinoma. Thirty-three cases showed typical endometriosis and 29 cases had atypical endometriosis (25 cases had both). Tufting and the stratification of the lining epithelium were observed in 25 and 23 cases, respectively. The transition from typical endometriosis to atypical endometriosis was observed in 22 cases, and the transition from atypical endometriosis to carcinoma, in 23 cases. Only one case showed a direct transition from typical endometriosis to carcinoma. The mean Ki-67 indices were as follows: ovarian carcinoma, 23.1; atypical endometriosis, 9.9; typical endometriosis, 2.7. In 18 cases with metaplasia in endometriosis, eosinophilic metaplasia and ciliated metaplasia were the most common types. Five cases had two types of metaplasia.

Conclusions: Ovarian carcinomas, especially clear cell and endometrioid adenocarcinomas, are highly associated with endometriosis. Atypical endometriosis shows proliferation activity intermediate to those of typical endometriosis and ovarian carcinoma, suggesting it is a precancerous status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / complications*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Division
  • Cystadenoma, Serous / complications*
  • Cystadenoma, Serous / pathology
  • Endometriosis / etiology*
  • Endometriosis / immunology
  • Endometriosis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Diseases / etiology*
  • Ovarian Diseases / immunology
  • Ovarian Diseases / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / complications*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology


  • Ki-67 Antigen