Encyclopedia of Cancer

2011 Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Ovarian Small Cell Carcinoma Hypercalcemic Type

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_6915


Small cell carcinoma of the ovary is a rare malignant  ovarian cancer. It is the most common undifferentiated ovarian carcinoma in young women. Approximately two thirds of patients with ovarian small cell carcinoma have hypercalcemia, i.e., increased serum calcium level. The mechanism of development of hypercalcemia is unclear, although parathyroid hormone–related protein has been found in some of the cases, possibly suggesting that ectopic parathyroid hormone production by the tumor cells may be the cause of hypercalcemia. This tumor occurs predominantly in young women. The 1-year survival is only 50%, with an overall 5-year survival rate of approximately 10%. It is believed that the empirical treatment characterized by combination of radical surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy results in the most favorable outcome in terms of survival. However, the outcome remains extremely poor despite this aggressive approach.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011