How are ovarian tumors of low malignant potential (LMP) treated?

Updated: Aug 10, 2020
  • Author: Andrew E Green, MD; Chief Editor: Yukio Sonoda, MD  more...
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The accepted initial treatment for tumors of low malignant potential (LMP tumors) is surgical removal of the tumor and biopsies. Surgery begins with a full assessment of the pelvis and abdominal contents as for epithelial ovarian cancer and is carried out as described below.

Patients who are premenopausal and desire preservation of fertility can be treated with unilateral oophorectomy alone. In selected cases, ovarian cystectomy may be sufficient for stage IA serous tumors of LMP. Hysterectomy and removal of the other ovary can be performed if the patient no longer desires to remain fertile.

When complete surgical staging is performed in patients with LMP tumors, some patients with disease originally thought to be confined to the ovaries are found to have disease that has spread. However, the value of this has not been defined in early-stage disease.

In advanced disease, patients should undergo cytoreductive surgery, as for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, to remove all visible tumor.

The postoperative management protocol is far from clear. To date, no medical therapy has been shown to clearly improve outcomes. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are not indicated for LMP tumors following complete resection for stage I and II disease. In cases where disease has spread from the ovaries at the time of surgery, and particularly where implants are found to be invasive, chemotherapy can be considered, but data establishing its efficacy are absent.

Regular follow-up care includes clinical examination and serum CA125 estimation, especially if the original tumor was serous and/or the CA125 was elevated. If a patient retains one or both ovaries, annual ultrasound examination may be indicated (see Workup).

LMP tumors do not recur in most patients. When they do, initial debulking surgery usually is indicated. Chemotherapy has no proven role.

For more information, see Borderline Ovarian Cancer

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