During childhood and adolescence, the rate of malignancy in ovarian enlargement is reported to be high-approximately 35% in many large series from tertiary centers. To assess whether this represents an overestimation because of the referral patterns of these institutions, a retrospective review was conducted at five hospitals in Nashville, Tennessee. In females 21 years of age and under, borderline or malignant ovarian neoplasms were identified in only eight (5.8%) of 137 individuals with ovarian enlargement and eight (9.8%) of 82 females with ovarian neoplasms. All six malignant neoplasms were of germ-cell origin. The borderline neoplasms were of epithelial origin, and occurred in females in their late teens. We conclude that the frequency with which ovarian enlargement represents malignancy in this age group appears to be much smaller than previously suggested. Nevertheless, because of the potential for malignant ovarian neoplasia in young females, the presence of an abdominal-pelvic mass requires prompt and thorough attention.
(C) 1988 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists