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Is Routine Appendectomy at the Time of Primary Surgery for Mucinous Ovarian Neoplasms Beneficial?

Feigenberg, Tomer MD*; Covens, Allan MD*; Ghorab, Zeina MD; Ismiil, Nadia MD; Dubé, Valérie MD; Saad, Reda S. MD; Khalifa, Mahmoud A. MD; Nofech-Mozes, Sharon MD

International Journal of Gynecological Cancer: September 2013 - Volume 23 - Issue 7 - p 1205–1209
doi: 10.1097/IGC.0b013e31829b7dca
Ovarian Cancer

The question whether the appendix should be removed at the time of surgery for apparent early-stage ovarian cancer is controversial. Removal of the appendix in the setting of mucinous histologic type is primarily driven by the existing challenge to distinguish between primary ovarian mucinous neoplasm and metastatic appendiceal carcinoma to the ovary.

Objectives: To evaluate the value of an appendectomy at the time of surgery for ovarian mucinous borderline tumors or carcinoma.

Methods: A retrospective single institute–based study was conducted. We identified patients who were operated on by a gynecologic oncologist for an abnormal pelvic mass, which was diagnosed as mucinous adenocarcinoma or mucinous borderline tumor between January 2000 and December 2010. Cases were included in the study if an appendectomy was performed at the time of initial surgery.

Results: Seventy-seven cases meeting the inclusion criteria were identified. The ovarian mass of 11 patients (14%) was diagnosed as metastatic appendiceal carcinoma involving the ovary. Evidence of metastatic disease, abnormal-looking appendix, or pseudomyxoma peritonei, were identified at the time of surgery for all of these cases. The condition of 30 patients (39%) and 36 patients (47%) were diagnosed as mucinous borderline ovarian tumor and invasive or microinvasive mucinous ovarian carcinoma, respectively. Evidence of metastasis from the ovary to the appendix was not identified in any of the cases.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that in cases of apparent early-stage mucinous ovarian borderline tumors and cancer, adding an appendectomy at the time of surgery is not warranted in the absence of a grossly abnormal appendix or evidence of metastatic disease.

*Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Toronto; Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and †Department of Anatomic Pathology, University of Toronto; Department of Pathology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Sharon Nofech-Mozes, MD, Department of Pathology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4N 3M5. E-mail:

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received January 12, 2013

Accepted May 10, 2013

© 2013 by the International Gynecologic Cancer Society and the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology.