• second-harmonic generation microscopy;
  • ovarian epithelial tumors;
  • collagen quantification;
  • extracellular matrix


In this study we showed that second-harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy combined with precise methods for images evaluation can be used to detect structural changes in the human ovarian stroma. Using a set of scoring methods (alignment of collagen fibers, anisotropy, and correlation), we found significant differences in the distribution and organization of collagen fibers in the stroma component of serous, mucinous, endometrioid and mixed ovarian tumors as compared with normal ovary tissue. This methodology was capable to differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissue, with clear cut distinction between normal, benign, borderline, and malignant tumors of serous type. Our results indicated that the combination of different image-analysis approaches presented here represent a powerful tool to investigate collagen organization and extracellular matrix remodeling in ovarian tumors (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)