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Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary


Microscopic pathology image showing a benign mucinous cystadenoma.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Benign Mucinous Ovarian Cystadenoma

What is Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary is a common benign ovarian tumor that generally affects women in their fourth decade. The causal factors for Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary are unknown
  • Tumors of the ovaries can be benign, borderline or low malignant potential (LMP), or malignant tumors. Thus, not all ovarian tumors are cancers
  • Benign tumors are not cancerous and do not spread or metastasize. Borderline or low malignant potential (LMP) tumors are usually benign, but some of them can behave like cancers. Malignant tumors are cancers that spread and metastasize
  • Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary is a slow-growing epithelial tumor. It usually presents as a single mass within the ovary, or can occur as multiple masses within a single ovary, or it may affect both the ovaries as well
  • These tumors are considered to be mucinous type of tumors based on their appearance under a microscope
  • Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary usually presents with signs and symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and increased abdominal size. The complications due to these tumor types may include rupture of cyst within the abdomen, or torsion of the ovary
  • Many such ovarian tumor types are asymptomatic and are discovered during an abdominal ultrasound, performed for other health reasons
  • The treatment for Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary is complete surgical removal of the tumor. With prompt and appropriate treatment, the prognosis is generally excellent

Who gets Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary can occur worldwide in women of any race or ethnicity, between the ages of 20-80 years; mostly in the age group of 30-40 years
  • Infants and young children are usually not affected

What are the Risk Factors for Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary? (Predisposing Factors)

  • The risk factors for Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary are unknown
  • However, women who are overweight and post-menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are at an increased risk

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary? (Etiology)

  • The exact cause of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary is unknown; they are thought to occur spontaneously
  • Researchers have documented certain genetic changes within the tumor. However, cases where these specific genetic mutations have been observed are rare. Thus, studies regarding genetic changes remain limited

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary?

The signs and symptoms of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary include:

  • Abdominal pain (the pain is usually in the pelvic region)
  • Abdominal swelling due to the mass or due to fluid accumulation in the belly (called ascites)
  • Increased abdominal girth due to fluid accumulation (ascites)
  • Persistent feeling of abdominal bloating with nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in bowel movements, such as constipation
  • Feeling full soon after eating less (having a feeling of satiety after eating less)
  • Loss of appetite with weight loss
  • Fatigue, feeling tired easily
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding

Some of the other features of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary include:

  • Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary is painless, slow-growing tumor and usually presents as a single mass in the ovary
  • The nodule is typically less than 5 cm in size (along the largest dimension), however some may grow to greater sizes
  • Some cases of this ovarian tumor have been reported to be larger than 10 cm
  • Large tumors may occasionally rupture spilling cyst contents into the belly

Most tumors are asymptomatic; however, in others, a wide-range of behavior is observed.

How is Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary Diagnosed?

The following are the diagnostic tools used for Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary:

  • A thorough physical examination with special emphasis on pelvic examination and a complete medical history is very vital
  • Complete blood count (CBC) with differential of white blood cells
  • Blood tests called serum tumor markers may be performed initially before a biopsy, to rule out a possibility of ovarian cancer. These tests may include:
    • CA-125 test
    • Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
    • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
    • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
    • Inhibin (hormone)       
    • Estrogen levels
    • Testosterone levels                       
  • Exploratory laparoscopy (diagnostic laparoscopy): This is a procedure wherein the abdomen is examined using a minimally invasive technique. During this procedure, a tissue biopsy may also be performed. A minimally invasive approach helps decrease the complications and length of stay at the hospital
  • A tissue biopsy of the tumor: A tissue biopsy is performed and sent to the laboratory for pathological examination

A pathologist examines the biopsy under a microscope. After putting together the clinical findings, special studies on tissues (if needed), and the microscope findings, the pathologist arrives at a definitive diagnosis. Sometimes, the pathologist may perform special studies that may include immunohistochemical stains, histochemical stains, molecular testing, and very rarely, electron microscopic studies. Examination of the biopsy under a microscope by a pathologist is considered to be the gold standard in arriving at a conclusive diagnosis.

Radiological imaging studies may include:

  • X-ray of the abdomen and pelvic region
  • CT scan of the abdomen and pelvic region
  • MRI scan of abdomen and pelvic region
  • Ultrasound scans of the pelvic region; usually transvaginal ultrasonography (TVS) and abdominal ultrasound scans are performed

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary?

Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary rarely causes any significant complication. However, a few may include:

  • Rupture of the cyst within the abdomen
  • Torsion of the ovary

These conditions can cause severe abdominal pain requiring urgent surgical exploration of the abdomen.

How is Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary Treated?

The following measures may be undertaken to treat Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary:

  • If the tumor is small, usually no treatment is needed, since these tumors are benign
  • A surgical excision of the tumor is considered sufficient treatment and is curative
  • Post-operative care is important: A minimal physical activity is advised, until the surgical wound heals

The healthcare provider will determine and plan the best course of treatment on a case-by-case basis.

How can Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary be Prevented?

The cause of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary is unknown. Hence, there are no known methods to prevent the tumor occurrence.

  • Early diagnosis with close monitoring and treatment of the tumor is important. A timely tumor recognition and prompt treatment will help in having optimal outcomes
  • The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) currently does not have any recommendation for screening against ovarian cancer for the general population. Tests such as blood serum CA125 level or trans-vaginal ultrasonography are not really helpful as screening tools
  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends that women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer take regular (annual) examinations. The healthcare provider may perform studies such as ultrasonography examinations and CA125 testing as part of one’s annual physical examination

What is the Prognosis of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • The prognosis of Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary is excellent with suitable treatment
  • The prognosis is generally good when the lesions are small and found below the ovarian surface. Such tumors also have very low recurrence risk on compete removal through surgery

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Benign Mucinous Cystadenoma of Ovary:

The following DoveMed website link is a useful resource for additional information:


What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

American Cancer Society (ACS)
1599 Clifton Road, NE Atlanta, GA 30329-4251
Toll-Free: (800) 227-2345
TTY: (866) 228-4327
Website: http://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
U.S. National Institutes of Health
Public Inquiries Office
Building 31, Room 10A03
31 Center Drive, MSC 8322 Bethesda, MD 20892-2580
Phone: (301) 435-3848
Toll-Free: (800) 422-6237
TTY: (800) 332-8615
Email: cancergovstaff@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.cancer.gov

Foundation for Women's Cancer
230 W Monroe St # 2528, Chicago, IL 60606-4902
Phone: (312) 578-1439
Toll-Free: (800) 444-4441
Fax: (312) 578-9769
Email: info@foundationforwomenscancer.org
Website: http://www.foundationforwomenscancer.org

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
1101 14th Street NW, Suite 850, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 331 1332
Toll-Free: (866) 399 6262
Fax: (202) 331 2292
Email: ocna@ovariancancer.org
Website: http://www.ovariancancer.org

Gilda's Club New York City (GCNYC)
195 West Houston Street New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 647-9700
Fax: (212) 647-1151
Website: http://www.gildasclubnyc.org

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Inc.
2501 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 435, Dallas, Texas 75219
Phone: (561) 393-0005
Information Line: (888) OVARIAN (888-682-7426)
Fax: (214) 273-4201
Website: http://www.ovarian.org

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)
275 Commerce Drive, Suite 300, Fort Washington, PA 19034
Phone: (215) 690 0300
Toll-Free: (888) 909-6226
Fax: (215) 690 0280
Website: http://www.nccn.org

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/ovarianepithelial/HealthProfessional/page1/AllPages (accessed on 04/15/2015)

http://atlasgeneticsoncology.org/Tumors/OvaryEpithTumID5230.html (accessed on 04/15/2015)

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2009. American Cancer Society. Available at http://www.cancer.org/downloads/STT/500809web.pdf (accessed 9/24/2014)

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for ovarian cancer: recommendation statement. AHRQ: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/ovariancan/ovcanrs.htm (accessed 9/24/2014)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

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Goff BA, Mandel LS, Melancon CH, Muntz HG. Frequency of symptoms of ovarian cancer in women presenting to primary care clinics. JAMA. Jun 9 2004;291(22):2705-12

Ryerson AB, Eheman C, Burton J, McCall N, Blackman D, Subramanian S, et al. Symptoms, diagnoses, and time to key diagnostic procedures among older U.S. women with ovarian cancer. Obstet Gynecol. May 2007;109(5):1053-61. 

Drake J. Diagnosis and management of the adnexal mass. Am Fam Physician. May 15 1998;57(10):2471-6, 2479-80. 

Lin HW, Tu YY, Lin SY, et al. Risk of ovarian cancer in women with pelvic inflammatory disease: a population-based study. Lancet Oncol. Sep 2011;12(9):900-4. 

Buys SS, Partridge E, Black A, Johnson CC, Lamerato L, Isaacs C, et al. Effect of screening on ovarian cancer mortality: the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. Jun 8 2011;305(22):2295-303. 

Integrated genomic analyses of ovarian carcinoma. Nature. Jun 29 2011;474(7353):609-15. 

Comerci JT Jr, Licciardi F, Bergh PA, Gregori C, Breen JL. Mature cystic teratoma: a clinicopathologic evaluation of 517 cases and review of the literature. Obstet Gynecol. Jul 1994;84(1):22-8. 

Koboldt DC, Fulton RS, McLellan MD, Schmidt H, Kalicki-Veizer J, McMichael JF, et al. Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumours. Nature. Sep 23 2012

Ramus SJ, Kartsonaki C, Gayther SA, Pharoah PD, Sinilnikova OM, Beesley J, et al. Genetic Variation at 9p22.2 and Ovarian Cancer Risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers. J Natl Cancer Inst. Jan 19 2011;103(2):105-116. 

Stone RL, Nick AM, McNeish IA, et al. Paraneoplastic thrombocytosis in ovarian cancer. N Engl J Med. Feb 16 2012;366(7):610-8.