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Gynecol Oncol. 2005 Feb;96(2):496-9.

Are germinal inclusion cysts markers of ovulation?

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, 185 South Orange Avenue, PO Box 1709, Newark, NJ 07101, USA.



Germinal inclusion cysts (GICs) of the ovary are possible precursor lesions for epithelial ovarian cancer. These cysts have been postulated to form as stigmata of ovulation. It is known that oral contraceptives, breastfeeding, and pregnancy, which decrease lifetime ovulations, confer protection against epithelial ovarian cancer. This study was undertaken to determine if ovarian density of epithelial inclusion cysts corresponds to a woman's frequency of ovulation.


One hundred two cases of women undergoing incidental oophorectomy at the time of surgery for benign gynecological conditions were interviewed for information relating to ovulation. Review of multiple sections of ovarian tissue was performed to count numbers of GICs.


There was a modest correlation between the average number of germinal inclusion cysts and ovulatory age (Spearman's rho = 0.2, P = 0.06). There were fewer GICs in current smokers and ever-users of oral contraceptives; however these associations were not significant (P > 0.1).


This study showed increased numbers of GICs in women of greater ovulatory age, and those who were not current smokers or ever used oral contraceptives. This provides some evidence that GICs may be caused by ovulation. The small number of subjects limited our ability to evaluate associations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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