Imaging of primary fallopian tube carcinoma

Abdom Imaging. 2013 Jun;38(3):608-18. doi: 10.1007/s00261-012-9920-4.


Objective: To increase awareness of primary fallopian tube carcinoma (PFTC) and its relationship to serous epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) and breast cancer. To review the characteristic imaging findings of PFTC thereby enabling radiologists to not only diagnose, but aid clinicians in staging, treatment planning and surveillance for recurrence.

Conclusions: There is increasing evidence of a relationship between PFTC and breast cancer and the breast cancer susceptibility gene mutation. Furthermore, studies in breast cancer gene mutation carriers suggest serous EOC arises from the epithelial lining of the fallopian tube. These theories indicate that the incidence of fallopian tube carcinoma is underestimated. Increased awareness is particularly important for radiologists reviewing surveillance studies in breast cancer patients. PFTC has characteristic imaging features that can aid in its detection and differentiation from other pelvic masses. Imaging is also helpful in tumor staging, identifying patients who may benefit from neoadjuvant chemotherapy and detection of recurrence following treatment. This article discusses the history, pathology, and patterns of spread of fallopian tube carcinoma, as well as reviewing and illustrating the cross-sectional imaging findings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / pathology
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pelvic Pain / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Vaginal Discharge / etiology