Ovarian mucinous tumors

Dr Tee Yu Jin and Radswiki et al.

Ovarian mucinous tumors are a subgroup of ovarian epithelial tumors. They represent ~20% of all ovarian tumors and ~10% of all malignant ovarian tumors. They are subdivided according to their malignant potential and clinical behavior into:

KRAS mutations are a common feature.

Mucinous ovarian tumors can be broadly sub-classified into three main subgroups:

In general, the cell type (e.g. serous, mucinous) often cannot be determined by the appearance on imaging 5. While some of the specific features can vary between the subtypes, there are certain features which are more common among mucinous tumors: 3

  • often larger than their serous counterparts (on occasion they may be enormous)
  • tend to be more multilocular with small cystic components +/- honeycomb-like locules
  • calcification is comparatively rare and if present tends to be linear
  • bilaterality is comparatively rare
  • peritoneal carcinomatosis is less common compared with serous tumors
  • may have accompanying pseudomyxoma peritonei
  • T1
    • signal intensity of mucin varies depending on the degree of mucin concentration
    • loculi with watery mucin have a lower signal intensity than loculi with thicker mucin
  • T2
    • the above-mentioned corresponding signal intensities are flipped so that loculi with watery mucin have a high signal intensity and loculi with thicker mucin appear slightly hypointense, given the "stained glass appearance"

Prognosis of mucinous tumors is highly dependent on stage and histologic composition: see individual subtypes for further details. 

  • ovarian serous tumors
    • tend to be unilocular  
    • often smaller than mucinous tumors
    • more frequently bilateral  
    • calcifications (psammoma calcifications) 
  • hemorrhagic cyst
    • smaller
    • unilocular
    • resolves on a follow-up scan
  • endometrioma
    • blood high signal on T1 weighted images with a T2 shading
Ultrasound - gynaecology
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Article information

rID: 15034
System: Gynaecology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Mucinous tumours of the ovary
  • Mucinous ovarian tumours
  • Mucinous ovarian tumors
  • Ovarian mucinous tumours
  • Ovarian mucinous tumors
  • Ovarian mucinous neoplasm
  • Ovarian mucinous neoplasms

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: ovarian mucinous cystadenoma
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  • Case 2: ovarian mucinous cystadenoma
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  • Case 3: unknown ovarian mucinous neoplasm
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  • Case 4: ovarian cystadenocarcinoma
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