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Gynecol Oncol. 2007 Mar;104(3):602-6. Epub 2006 Oct 20.

Primary appendiceal cancer: gynecologic manifestations and treatment options.

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Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky Medical Center-Markey Cancer Center, 800 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.



To determine the presenting symptoms, gynecologic manifestations, and optimal intraoperative management of women with primary appendiceal cancer.


A multi-institutional investigation was performed to identify female patients with primary appendiceal cancer who were treated from 1990 to present.


Forty-eight women with primary appendiceal cancer were identified from the tumor registries of participating institutions. The most common symptoms were abdominal pain (40%) and bloating (23%), but only 8% experienced rectal bleeding. Serum CEA was elevated (>2.5 U/ml) in 67% of patients, and serum Ca-125 was elevated (>35 U/ml) in 50% of patients. Thirty-one patients (65%) presented with a right adnexal or right lower quadrant mass and were operated on initially by a gynecologic oncologist. Ovarian involvement by metastatic appendiceal cancer was documented in 18 patients (38%). All of these patients underwent total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and staging, but only 8 had a right hemicolectomy at the time of initial surgery. Forty-one patients (85%) presented with advanced stage appendiceal cancer (Stage III or IV) and 19 patients (46%) received postoperative chemotherapy, most commonly with a combination of 5-FU/Leukovorin. Following surgery, 22 patients (46%) experienced disease progression or recurrence, and 14 have died of disease. The most common sites of recurrence were abdominal or pelvic peritoneum (18), colon (2), and ovary (2). Patient survival was 70% at 2 years, and 60% at 5 years.


Women with primary appendiceal cancer frequently present with ovarian metastases, and initial surgical intervention is often performed by a gynecologic oncologist. All patients with mucinous epithelial ovarian cancer should undergo appendectomy at the time of surgical staging. The appendix should be examined intraoperatively, and if appendiceal carcinoma is identified, a right hemicolectomy and appropriate surgical staging should be considered.

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