What are the recurrence and survival rates of borderline ovarian cancer?

Updated: Mar 18, 2019
  • Author: Andrew E Green, MD; Chief Editor: Warner K Huh, MD  more...
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Patients with stage I disease confirmed by comprehensive staging have a recurrence rate of approximately 15%. The 5-year survival rate for such patients approaches 100%. However, the 10-year survival rate is 90-95%, depending on histologic findings.

In patients with stage II-IV disease, the prognosis is different; an increased stage is associated with a worse prognosis and only age at diagnosis and the presence of invasive implants are shown to influence prognosis.

In reported series, women who had serous tumors with noninvasive peritoneal implants demonstrated a mean 20% recurrence rate and a mean 7% death rate. In patients with recurrence, a median time to diagnosis of 3.1 years was reported if the recurrence was of the borderline type. In patients whose recurrence was invasive carcinoma, the median time to diagnosis was 8.3 years. It is believed that the former was a recurrence but that the latter was probably a new primary tumor. The cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) level was normal in 65% of the recurring cases (see the section Biomarkers and DNA Cytometry). Death was noted only when invasive carcinoma was noted in the recurrence.

In patients with serous borderline tumors with invasive implants, the relapse rate was 31-45%, according to a study by Gershenson et al. The median time from diagnosis to recurrence was 24 months, although the time to progression of disease was significantly longer in patients who had no macroscopic disease remaining at the time of initial operation. Additionally, patients who received postoperative platinum-based chemotherapy had a significantly worse progression-free survival rate. However, the authors of this study believed that this finding might have been due to selection bias.

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