Ovarian cancer classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Huda A. Karman, M.D.


Ovarian cancer may be classified according to the histology of the tumor, obtained in a pathology report. Based on the classification, the management of ovarian cancer is directed and determined. The main four types of ovarian cancer are Surface epithelial-stromal tumour, Sex cord-stromal tumor, Germ cell tumor, and Mixed tumors.


Ovarian cancer Types Ovarian cancer subtypes
Surface epithelial-stromal tumour (60-70%) Ovarian serous tumor
  • Ovarian borderline serous cystadenoma: ~15% of serous tumor
  • Ovarian serous cystadenocarcinoma: ~25% of serous tumor; commonest malignant ovarian tumour
Ovarian mucinous tumor
  • Ovarian mucinous cystadenoma: ~80% of mucinous tumor
  • Ovarian borderline mucinous cystadenoma: 10-15% of mucinous tumor
  • Ovarian mucinous cystadenocarcinoma: ~5-10% of serous tumor
Ovarian endometrioid tumour
  • 8-15% of all ovarian tumor
Brenner tumour
  • ~2.5% of ovarian epithelial neoplasms
Squamous cell carcinoma of the ovary
  • ~5% of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cystadenofibroma / ovarian adenofibroma
  • can be serous, mucinous, endometrioid, clear cell or mixed
Ovarian cystadenocarcinofibroma
  • extremely rare
Undifferentiated carcinoma of the ovary
  • ~4% of all ovarian tumor
Germ cell ovarian tumor (~20%) Ovarian teratoma: commonest primary benign tumour of ovary
  • Immature ovarian teratoma
  • Mature ovarian (cystic) teratoma
  • Specialised teratomas of the ovary
  • Struma ovarii tumour
  • Ovarian carcinoid tumor
Ovarian dysgerminoma
Ovarian yolk sac tumour
  • endodermal sinus tumour
Ovarian embryonal carcinoma
Ovarian choriocarcinoma
  • <1% of ovarian tumor
Pure primary ovarian choriocarcinoma
  • extremely rare
Malignant mixed germ cell tumour of the ovary
Sex cord / stromal ovarian tumor (8-10%)[5][6] Ovarian fibrothecoma
  • ~5% of ovarian tumor
Ovarian fibroma
  • ~4% of ovarian tumor
Sclerosing stromal tumour of the ovary
  • rare
Ovarian Sertoli-Leydig cell tumour - ovarian androblastoma
  • ~0.5% of ovarian tumor
Granulosa cell tumour of ovary
  • commonest malignant sex cord tumour
Juvenile granulosa cell tumour of ovary
Adult granulosa cell tumour of ovary
Others Ovarian carcinosarcoma <1%
  • Primary ovarian lymphoma
  • Secondary involvement of the ovary with lymphoma
Metastases to the ovary Krukenburg tumour
Other metastatic lesions to ovary


  1. 1.0 1.1 Heintz AP, Odicino F, Maisonneuve P, Beller U, Benedet JL, Creasman WT; et al. (2001). "Carcinoma of the ovary". J Epidemiol Biostat. 6 (1): 107–38. PMID 11385772.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Banks E (2001). "The epidemiology of ovarian cancer". Methods Mol Med. 39: 3–11. doi:10.1385/1-59259-071-3:3. PMID 21340753.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Singer G, Oldt R, Cohen Y, Wang BG, Sidransky D, Kurman RJ; et al. (2003). "Mutations in BRAF and KRAS characterize the development of low-grade ovarian serous carcinoma". J Natl Cancer Inst. 95 (6): 484–6. doi:10.1093/jnci/95.6.484. PMID 12644542.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Singer G, Stöhr R, Cope L, Dehari R, Hartmann A, Cao DF; et al. (2005). "Patterns of p53 mutations separate ovarian serous borderline tumors and low- and high-grade carcinomas and provide support for a new model of ovarian carcinogenesis: a mutational analysis with immunohistochemical correlation". Am J Surg Pathol. 29 (2): 218–24. PMID 15644779.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Chen VW, Ruiz B, Killeen JL, Coté TR, Wu XC, Correa CN (2003). "Pathology and classification of ovarian tumors". Cancer. 97 (10 Suppl): 2631–42. doi:10.1002/cncr.11345. PMID 12733128.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Young RH (2005). "Sex cord-stromal tumors of the ovary and testis: their similarities and differences with consideration of selected problems". Mod Pathol. 18 Suppl 2: S81–98. doi:10.1038/modpathol.3800311. PMID 15502809.