Clinical characteristics of clear cell carcinoma of the ovary: a distinct histologic type with poor prognosis and resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy

Cancer. 2000 Jun 1;88(11):2584-9.


Background: A retrospective review of treatment results comparing women with clear cell carcinoma of the ovary (CCC) with a group with serous adenocarcinoma of the ovary (SAC) was conducted.

Methods: Between 1988-1998, 662 patients with epithelial ovarian carcinoma were identified through the medical records department and the tumor registry at 4 institutions. After the central pathologic review, 101 patients with pure or dominant (>/= 90%) CCC (15.3%) were entered into the current study. Two hundred thirty five patients with pure SAC were selected as a group for comparison. All patients underwent staging laparotomy followed by platinum-based chemotherapy. Distribution of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) disease stage, response to chemotherapy, and prognosis for patients with CCC were compared with the same values in patients with SAC.

Results: Patients with CCC were significantly more likely to have FIGO Stage I disease than were patients with SAC (48.5% vs. 16.6%). A high recurrence rate was noted in those patients with Stage IC CCC (37%). In those patients with Stage IC disease, the survival rates for patients with CCC were lower than those for patients with SAC. The 3-year and 5-year survival rates for Stage III CCC patients were significantly lower compared with Stage III SAC patients. The response rate to platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with CCC was significantly lower than that in patients with SAC.

Conclusions: CCC is an intriguing histologic type of epithelial ovarian cancer that demonstrates a clinical behavior distinctly different from that of SAC.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / mortality*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / drug therapy
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / mortality*
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Platinum Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Survival Rate


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Platinum Compounds