Role of surgery in ovarian carcinoma

Amanda Nickles Fader, Peter G. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Surgery plays a critical role in the optimal management of all stages of ovarian carcinoma. In apparent early-stage ovarian cancer, a comprehensive surgical evaluation allows stratification of patients into low- and high-risk categories. Low-risk patients may be candidates for fertility-sparing surgery and can safely avoid chemotherapy and be observed. Treatment of patients with high-risk early- or advanced-stage ovarian cancer usually requires a combined modality approach. Although it is well known that epithelial ovarian cancer is moderately chemosensitive, what distinguishes it most from other metastatic solid tumors is that surgical cytoreduction of tumor volume is highly correlated with prolongation of patient survival. Procedures such as radical pelvic surgery, bowel resection, and aggressive upper abdominal surgery are commonly required to achieve optimal cytoreduction. Women who develop recurrent disease may be eligible for a secondary cytoreductive surgery or may require a surgical intervention to palliate disease-related symptoms. For women at high risk of ovarian cancer, prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy significantly reduces the incidence of this disease. The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the surgical management of ovarian carcinoma. The roles of primary, interval, and secondary cytoreductive surgeries; second-look procedures; and palliative surgery are reviewed. The indications for fertility-sparing and minimally invasive surgery as well as the current guidelines for prophylactic surgery in high-risk mutation carriers are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2873-2883
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jul 10 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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