Ovarian tumors: a survey of selected advances of note during the life of this journal

Hum Pathol. 2020 Jan:95:169-206. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2019.09.002. Epub 2019 Oct 22.


The author reviews highlights of advances in knowledge concerning ovarian tumor pathology since the time of an essay in the first issue of this Journal written by Dr Robert E. Scully, who, both before and for several decades after the Journal was instituted, made many original contributions to the field and was the major architect of the 1973 World Health Organization classification of ovarian tumors which was much more clear and logical than prior ones. The current review considers the neoplasms in essentially the same order as was done in the first issue of this journal and presents a personal look at the highlights of new information concerning various well-known categories, surface epithelial, germ cell, sex cord-stromal, metastatic neoplasms and briefly, benign so-called tumor-like lesions. Some of the most notable developments are as follows: (1) an orderly approach to the classification of implants of serous borderline tumors into noninvasive and invasive categories; (2) recognition of distinctive micropapillary patterns seen in some borderline tumors and low-grade carcinomas; (3) a remarkable propensity for some endometrioid carcinomas to mimic sex cord- stromal tumors; (4) appreciation of the differences between primary mucinous tumors of intestinal and müllerian types; (5) the importance of distinguishing within primary mucinous carcinomas between expansile and destructive stromal invasion; (6) emphasis on the diagnosis of immature teratoma being based on the presence of primitive-embryonic-appearing tissues; (7) appreciation of variant morphology of cases of struma ovarii which may lead to significant diagnostic problems; (8) subdivision of granulosa cell tumors into adult and juvenile types because of the differing features of the two groups including in the second category the propensity for more malignant neoplasms to be mimicked; (9) recognition of a distinctive form of Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor, the retiform variant, with a propensity to occur in the young; (10) appreciation of a unique highly malignant neoplasm that typically afflicts the young and may be associated with hypercalcemia, so-called small cell carcinoma of hypercalcemic type; (11) greater awareness than was hitherto the case of the propensity for metastatic intestinal adenocarcinoma to mimic primary endometrioid carcinoma and similarly for metastatic mucinous carcinomas to simulate primary mucinous cystic tumors; (12) recognition of the distinctive features of low-grade appendiceal mucinous neoplasms that spread to the ovary and are typically associated with pseudomyxoma peritonei; and (13) appreciation that the histologic spectrum seen in cases of Krukenberg tumor is broader than often previously thought.

Keywords: Differential diagnosis; Metastatic tumors; Neoplasms; Ovary.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / classification
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / history
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Terminology as Topic