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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2015 Mar;186:97-105. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2015.01.010. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Feto-maternal outcomes of pregnancy complicated by epithelial ovarian cancer: a systematic review of literature.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado, CO, USA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.
Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address:


Although cancer diagnosed during pregnancy is rare, epithelial cell type ovarian cancers (EOCs) comprise approximately one quarter to one half of cases of ovarian malignancy diagnosed during pregnancy. The behavior of EOC during pregnancy and its implications for maternal and fetal outcomes is not well understood. In order to better define these outcomes, a systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE using entry keywords "pregnancy" and "ovarian cancer" for the period from 1955 to 2013. The literature search identified 105 cases eligible for analysis. Clinical characteristics, pregnancy outcome, tumor characteristics, clinical management, and survival outcomes were all evaluated. Serious adverse events were defined as complications related to EOC that resulted in severe morbidity or mortality for the mother and/or fetus. The mean age of cases was 31.6 years. The most common histology was serous (47.6%), followed by mucinous (27.6%) and endometrioid types (10.5%). The most common presenting symptom was abdominal or pelvic pain (26.7%) while incidentally detected tumors accounted for one third of cases. The majority of cases were stage I at diagnosis (63.8%) followed by stage III disease (24.8%), and the median tumor size was 12cm. Live births occurred in 81.3% of cases, and of the remainder 72.2% were due to elective termination. Intrapartum surgery primarily took place in the second trimester (43%) with fetal conservation in 61.9% of operations. Over half of cases received chemotherapy (55.2%), approximately one third of which received it during the pregnancy (36.2%). Among the 21 cases treated with chemotherapy during pregnancy, there was no association with small for gestational age or fetal malformations. Serious adverse events occurred in 21.9% of cases, of which the most common was tumor rupture during pregnancy (10.5%). Three (2.9%) maternal death following surgery during pregnancy and five (6.4%) neonatal deaths were reported. Gestational age at tumor diagnosis (2-year overall survival rate, 1st trimester 94.6%, 2nd trimester 88.8%, and 3rd trimester 72.9%, p=0.041) type of histology (serous 88.1%, mucinous 84.6%, endometrioid 89.5%, clear cell 100%, mixed type 75.0%, and undifferentiated 30.0%, p<0.01), stage (stage I 96.9%, stage II 85.7%, stage III 56.3%, and stage IV 25.0%, p<0.01), and serious adverse events (yes versus no, 68.1% versus 92.2%, p=0.041) were significantly related to maternal overall survival in univariate analysis. In multivariate analysis, stage III/IV disease remained the independent prognostic factor associated with decreased maternal overall survival (stage III, hazard ratio 44.6, p<0.01; and stage IV, hazard ratio 399, p<0.01). In conclusion, although the majority of EOC cases during pregnancy resulted in live birth, maternal and neonatal mortality needs to be considered in the counseling and management of these pregnancies.


Epithelial ovarian cancer; Ovarian cancer; Pregnancy; Review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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