Advertisement

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. 

Continue Learning about Ovarian Cancer

What Every Woman Must Know About Ovarian Cancer
What Every Woman Must Know About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer, and fifth-leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women. The good news: If treated early, the 5-year...
Read More
What genes may trigger the development of clear cell ovarian cancer?
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF)Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF)
New research based on a mouse model of clear cell ovarian cancer has helped to identify two mutated ...
More Answers
Is ovarian cancer a common version of gynecologic cancer?
Laura Corio, MDLaura Corio, MD
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women. Its incidence increases with age and is one...
More Answers
Why Does Ovarian Cancer Go Undiagnosed for so Long?
Why Does Ovarian Cancer Go Undiagnosed for so Long?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.