Brain metastases from epithelial ovarian cancer


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Prof. Sun-Kuie Tay, MD, Gynaecologic Oncology Services, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore, Singapore 169608. Email:


Abstract.  Tay, S-K, Rajesh H, Brain metastases from epithelial ovarian cancer. Int J Gynecol Cancer 2005;15:824–829.

Brain metastasis from epithelial ovarian cancer is uncommon. We studied the presentation, treatment, and prognosis of brain metastasis in a single institution. A retrospective review of clinical details kept in the computer database of gynecologic oncology services in a tertiary institution between 1993 and 2003 was done. A Medline search for English publications on brain metastasis from epithelial ovarian cancer was performed from 1966 to 2003. The study period included 605 patients, and 4 (0.66%) patients developed brain metastases. The patients were usually well, until they presented with hemiparesis. The median primary treatment to brain metastasis interval was 16.5 months. Three out of four cases had multiple brain metastases, and all had small-volume extracranial tumor relapses. Serum CA125 measurement was not reliable in the screening for brain metastasis. The median survival after brain metastasis was 19.5 months. Single brain metastasis can be treated with surgery. Our experience supports the prevalent published opinion that all other cases should be considered for combined radiotherapy and surgery or radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Surveillance of tumor recurrence with serum CA125 monitoring does not predict brain metastasis, which carries a poor prognosis. The best mode of management of these patients is yet to be determined. Large study with multicenter participation to establish the standard treatment is urgently needed.