Imaging in gynecological disease (9): clinical and ultrasound characteristics of tubal cancer

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Mar;43(3):328-35. doi: 10.1002/uog.12570.


Objectives: To describe clinical history and ultrasound findings in patients with tubal carcinoma.

Methods: Patients with a histological diagnosis of tubal cancer who had undergone preoperative ultrasound examination were identified from the databases of 13 ultrasound centers. The tumors were described by the principal investigator at each contributing center on the basis of ultrasound images, ultrasound reports and research protocols (when applicable) using the terms and definitions of the International Ovarian Tumor Analysis (IOTA) group. In addition, three authors reviewed together all available digital ultrasound images and described them using subjective evaluation of gray-scale and color Doppler ultrasound findings.

Results: We identified 79 women with a histological diagnosis of primary tubal cancer, 70 of whom (89%) had serous carcinomas and 46 (58%) of whom presented at FIGO stage III. Forty-nine (62%) women were asymptomatic (incidental finding), whilst the remaining 30 complained of abdominal bloating or pain. Fifty-three (67%) tumors were described as solid at ultrasound examination, 14 (18%) as multilocular solid, 10 (13%) as unilocular solid and two (3%) as unilocular. No tumor was described as a multilocular mass. Most tumors (70/79, 89%) were moderately or very well vascularized on color or power Doppler ultrasound. Normal ovarian tissue was identified adjacent to the tumor in 51% (39/77) of cases. Three types of ultrasound appearance were identified as being typical of tubal carcinoma using pattern recognition: a sausage-shaped cystic structure with solid tissue protruding into it like a papillary projection (11/62, 18%); a sausage-shaped cystic structure with a large solid component filling part of the cyst cavity (13/62, 21%); an ovoid or oblong completely solid mass (36/62, 58%).

Conclusions: A well vascularized ovoid or sausage-shaped structure, either completely solid or with large solid component(s) in the pelvis, should raise the suspicion of tubal cancer, especially if normal ovarian tissue is seen adjacent to it.

Keywords: pattern recognition; retrospective study; tubal cancer; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Fallopian Tubes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fallopian Tubes / pathology*
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / diagnostic imaging
  • Genital Diseases, Female / pathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color*