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Keywords:

  • malignant tumors in pregnancy;
  • ovarian tumors;
  • primary ovarian cancer

Background. The purpose of this study was to review patients with ovarian cancer in pregnancy, the effectiveness of the available methods of treatment and their prognosis.

Methods. A retrospective review of all women diagnosed to have cancer of the ovary associated with pregnancy who delivered at the authors' hospitals between January 1976 and December 2000. The demography, clinical presentation, time and mode of diagnosis, treatment, pregnancy outcome and maternal survival were noted.

Results. The incidence of ovarian carcinoma in pregnancy in the series was 0.08/1000 deliveries. Of the 9 patients, 7 had epithelial cancers; 4 serous cystadenocarcinoma, 2 mucinous cystadenocarcinomas and one undifferentiated cancer. One patient each had dysgerminoma and granulosa cell tumor. Six patients were in FIGO stage Ia, one Ic, one IIa. One patient was in stage III. Five patients were treated by unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy during pregnancy. Three patients had total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and omentectomy followed by chemotherapy. Debulking of the tumor was done in a patient in stage III with subsequent chemotherapy. This patient died 13 months from the time of diagnosis of the tumor. The overall 5-year survival rate in the series was 78% and 100% for stage Ia.

Conclusions. Association of ovarian cancer with pregnancy is a rare occurrence. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment offers the best prognosis for the patient. The higher survival rates in the series was attributed to a larger number of patients in stage I of the disease and 2 patients with a germ cell tumor and dysgerminoma which have the best prognosis. Aggressive postoperative chemotherapy also contributed to the better outcome.