Spontaneous transformation of the ovarian surface epithelium and the biology of ovarian cancer

  • H. Salazar
  • A. K. Godwin
  • L. A. Getts
  • J. R. Testa
  • M. Daly
  • N. Rosenblum
  • M. Hogan
  • R. F. Ozols
  • T. C. Hamilton


The ovary is perhaps one of the more complex organs of the human body with two major normal physiological functions: (1) the production of steroid hormones and (2) the timely release of ova. These functions are accomplished by numerous different cell types from which tumors may arise (Figure 15.1). The majority of the ovarian neoplasms (80–90%) are believed to arise from the cells which cover the ovarian surface [1–3]. These so-called common epithelial tumors of the ovary display a range of histological features which allow them to be classified according to their histological similarities with the epithelial components characteristic of different müllerian structures. Thus, serous tumor epithelia are similar to fallopian tube epithelia; the epithelia of endometrioid tumors recapitulate the epithelia of the endometrium and its neoplasms, while those of mucinous tumors usually show features identical to either endocervical or intestinal epithelia [1–3]. Important embryological relationships exist between the ovarian surface epithelium and the epithelial lining of the fallopian tubes, endometrium and endocervix that can explain the histogenetic basis for the various histological subtypes of these common epithelial tumors of the ovary. The surface epithelial cells are a modified peritoneal mesothelium which originates from the same celomic epithelium which during embryonic development invaginates lateral to the gonads to form the paramesonephric or müllerian duct system of the embryo. From this, ultimately, the fallopian tubes, the uterus (endometrium and endocervix) and at least part of the vagina differentiate [4]. Hence, a strong histogenetic basis for the histological subtypes of epithelial ovarian tumors is evident.


Ovarian Cancer Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Expression Ovarian Surface Epithelium Ovarian Surface Surface Epithelial Cell 
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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Salazar
  • A. K. Godwin
  • L. A. Getts
  • J. R. Testa
  • M. Daly
  • N. Rosenblum
  • M. Hogan
  • R. F. Ozols
  • T. C. Hamilton

There are no affiliations available

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