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Mod Pathol. 2009 Aug;22(8):985-8. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2009.64. Epub 2009 May 1.

Intercepting early pelvic serous carcinoma by routine pathological examination of the fimbria.

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Division of Women's and Perinatal Pathology, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Recent evidence indicates that the distal fallopian tube is the principal site of early serous cancer in women with a hereditary risk for ovarian cancer. Moreover, the fimbria is involved by early cancer in a significant minority of pelvic serous carcinomas, irrespective of whether the patient has a hereditary BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. In addition, the distal tube has been identified occasionally as a site of concurrent endometrioid tumors in women with endometrial carcinoma. Although the risk of sporadic fimbrial tumors in otherwise healthy women without genetic risk is unknown, routine histological examination of the fimbria provides the opportunity to determine the risk of such an event. To illustrate this point, a case of a woman who underwent surgery for an ovarian fibroma is presented. The distal tube was submitted, and found to harbor a focus of serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC) with a 2-mm invasive tumor. Incidentally discovered carcinomas underscore the potential risk, albeit low, of concurrent unsuspected malignancy in the distal fallopian tube and emphasize the importance of routine pathological examination of the fimbria in all salpingectomies. The rationale for this strategy, and its potential effect on early detection and in uncovering persons or families potentially at risk for ovarian cancer, is discussed.

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