Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics

, Volume 284, Issue 5, pp 1277–1282 | Cite as

Small cell carcinoma of the ovary of the hypercalcaemic type: an analysis of clinical and prognostic aspects of a rare disease on the basis of cases published in the literature

  • Rebecca Estel
  • Andreas Hackethal
  • Matthias Kalder
  • Karsten MünstedtEmail author
Gynecologic Oncology



Ovarian small cell carcinoma of the hypercalcaemic type is a very rare and highly aggressive malignant disease, mainly affecting young women. Due to the rarity of this tumour entity, prospective randomised trials are unlikely to be conducted, and the only retrospective analysis based on a large case series is from 1994. Since diagnostic and treatment modalities may have changed, we initiated this analysis.


The aim of our study was to review and analyse cases published since 1975 to validate former findings and to gather more information about therapy options, diagnostic and prognostic factors. A systematic literature search of the PubMed/Medline database was performed assessing all articles until September 2010. All retrieved articles were evaluated and cross-checked for references on the topic. In total, 135 cases were included, selected from 62 case reports and smaller case studies.


Small cell carcinoma mostly affects women with a mean age of 23.4 years. They present with unspecific symptoms like abdominal pain or palpable mass, sometimes accompanied by an elevated calcium or CA-125 serum concentration. The tumour appears nearly almost unilaterally, mostly affecting the right ovary. Tumour stage is a clearly prognostic factor. Adjuvant chemotherapy consisting of etoposide, cisplatinum/carboplatinum or vinca alkaloids has shown improved survival, whereas radiotherapy has not.


In spite of limitations this analysis provides new insights especially with respect to therapeutic aspects. This review underlines the importance of case reports in rare tumour entities in order to answer open questions.


Small cell carcinoma Ovarian cancer Hypercalcaemia Systematic review 



The authors thank Dr. Igor Hrgovic for his support during the study.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Estel
    • 1
  • Andreas Hackethal
    • 1
  • Matthias Kalder
    • 2
  • Karsten Münstedt
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departement of Obstetrics and GynecologyJustus-Liebig-University of GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Gynecology and Gynecological Endocrinology and OncologyPhilipps UniversityMarburgGermany

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