Why do some people think ovarian cancer starts in the fallopian tubes?

One of the first hints that some cases of ovarian cancer might start in the Fallopian tubes was the fact that under the microscope, tumor cells looked more like Fallopian tube cells than ovary cells.

To test the hypothesis, researchers turned to a group of women who have mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (one of the few known genetic mutations that can lead to ovarian cancer and also increase one’s risk of breast cancer). To prevent ovarian cancer, women with one of these genetic mutations often voluntarily have their ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed. When researchers began dissecting the removed Fallopian tubes, they found early cancers in almost 50% percent of the samples.

The discovery provided more evidence that some ovarian cancers are really Fallopian tube cancers that have dropped from the Fallopian tubes and moved to the nearby ovaries. This may explain why the progress in treating and preventing ovarian cancer has been so slow; experts may have not really understood the biology. 

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