The morphologic spectrum of ovarian metastases of appendiceal adenocarcinomas: a clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical analysis of tumors often misinterpreted as primary ovarian tumors or metastatic tumors from other gastrointestinal sites

Am J Surg Pathol. 1997 Oct;21(10):1144-55. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199710000-00004.


Twenty cases of ovarian metastases derived from appendiceal adenocarcinomas were analyzed. The most common presentation was a pelvic mass. The appendiceal and ovarian tumors were diagnosed concurrently in 15 cases; in the remaining five, the ovarian tumors were diagnosed before the appendiceal tumor. The appendiceal adenocarcinomas demonstrated four morphologic patterns: 1) signet ring cell type, with or without glandular or goblet cell differentiation (14 cases); 2) mixed signet ring cell and intestinal type (two cases); 3) intestinal type (two cases); and 4) typical colorectal type (two cases). The ovarian tumors were bilateral in 16 cases and were histologically similar to the associated appendiceal tumor in each case. Ovarian metastases that demonstrate signet ring cell, glandular, and goblet cell differentiation mimic metastases from gastric adenocarcinoma. Those that are derived from well-differentiated mucinous appendiceal adenocarcinomas mimic primary ovarian mucinous tumors and metastases from the pancreas and biliary tract. Metastases of appendiceal adenocarcinomas of colorectal type simulate both metastatic colorectal carcinoma and primary ovarian endometrioid carcinomas. The appendiceal and ovarian tumors were immunophenotypically identical in each case. Approximately 50% of the appendiceal and ovarian tumors were positive for cytokeratin 7 (CK 7), and all were positive for cytokeratin 20 (CK 20). CK 20 positivity of the ovarian tumors is consistent with gastrointestinal origin; CK 7 positivity does not confirm ovarian origin, because appendiceal carcinomas are positive in 50% of cases. Metastatic appendiceal adenocarcinoma should be considered in the differential diagnosis of mucinous ovarian tumors with signet ring cell, goblet cell, or intestinal type differentiation, especially when these tumors are associated with extraovarian disease and are bilateral.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / classification
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / analysis
  • Keratin-20
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / secondary*


  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • KRT20 protein, human
  • Keratin-20
  • Keratins