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Onkologie. 2003 Apr;26(2):167-72.

Adnexal masses in pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


With the widespread use of routine abdominal ultrasound examination during pregnancy, adnexal masses are observed with increasing frequency. Most patients are clinically asymptomatic at the time of presentation, and most of the adnexal masses detected during early pregnancy disappear during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Ovarian tumors are estimated to occur in about 1 in 1,000 pregnancies and of these 3% are malignant. Here we present an overview about frequency, diagnostic procedures and pathological characteristics of these ovarian tumors. Moreover, current modalities for treatment during pregnancy are summarized. Surgical treatment of the adnexal masses has to be performed with adequate staging and debulking equal to the treatment of non-pregnant women. However, whereas during organogenesis abortion has to be considered prior to chemotherapy, later in pregnancy surgical debulking as complete as possible, followed by taxol-platinum chemotherapy is indicated. If the fetus is not viable at the time of primary surgery, neoadjuvant chemotherapy and complementation of surgery after delivery of the baby should be performed. It should be stressed that chemotherapy for ovarian cancer applied during pregnancy appears to be safe. However, no studies have evaluated the long-term consequences for children exposed to intra-uterine chemotherapy. Aspiration of cysts should be avoided, as the correlation between the histological evaluation of an ovarian malignancy and the cytological evaluation of aspirates is poor. Moreover, spillage of malignant cysts is hazardous for the patient.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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