Purpose: Struma ovarii is rare, accounting for 0.3-1% of ovarian tumours. Malignant transformation may occur, most often into papillary thyroid carcinoma. There is a paucity of data pertaining to malignant struma ovarii. This paper shares a decade of experience of a single institution in the management of this rare ovarian cancer, exploring the characteristics of this tumour and suggesting a standardised approach to treatment and follow-up.
Methods: All patients treated for malignant struma ovarii within a large cancer centre over one decade were identified and data collected retrospectively on presentation, diagnosis, management, follow-up and survival outcomes. A literature review was also undertaken.
Results: Eleven cases of malignant struma ovarii were managed in the Oxford Cancer Centre between 2010 and 2019, 6 of which were of papillary thyroid carcinoma sub-type. No cases were correctly diagnosed pre-operatively. All patients had stage I disease and were managed surgically-but with variation in radicality. Patients identified as high-risk based on final histopathology underwent additional thyroidectomy and radio-active iodine ablation therapy. One case of synchronous malignancy of the thyroid gland proper was identified. No disease recurrence occurred.
Conclusion: Malignant struma ovarii present a diagnostic challenge. Multi-disciplinary team (MDT) input is essential. Unilateral salpingo-oophrectomy may be adequate if stage I; reserving more radical surgery for advanced disease. Histopathological risk-stratification should be used to identify those most likely to benefit from adjuvant thyroid-targeting therapies. Patients require follow-up, anticipating an overall good prognosis.
Keywords: Histopathology; Ovarian cancer; Papillary thyroid carcinoma; Radio-active iodine ablation; Struma ovarii; Thyroidectomy.