Ovarian carcinosarcoma is highly aggressive compared to other ovarian cancer histotypes

Iona McFarlane, Joanna M Porter, Elizabeth Brownsell, Nidal Ghaoui, Kathryn C Connolly, C Simon Herrington, Robb Hollis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Ovarian carcinosarcoma (OCS) is an unusual ovarian cancer type characterized by distinct carcinomatous and sarcomatous components. OCS has been excluded from many of the pan-histotype studies of ovarian carcinoma, limiting our understanding of its behavior.

Methods: We performed a multi-cohort cross-sectional study of characteristics and outcomes in ovarian cancer patients from Scotland (n=2082) and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER, n=44946) diagnosed with OCS or one of the other major histotypes: high grade serous (HGSOC), endometrioid (EnOC), clear cell (CCOC), mucinous (MOC) or low grade serous ovarian carcinoma (LGSOC). Differences in overall survival were quantified using Cox regression models to calculate hazard ratios (HR).

Results: Across both cohorts, OCS patients were significantly older at diagnosis compared to all other histotypes (median age at diagnosis 69 and 67 in Scottish and SEER cohorts) and demonstrated the shortest survival time upon univariable analysis. Within the Scottish cohort, 59.3% and 16.9% of OCS patients presented with FIGO stage III and IV disease, respectively; this was significantly higher than in EnOC, CCOC or MOC (P<0.0001 for all), but lower than in HGSOC (P=0.004). Multivariable analysis accounting for other prognostic factors identified OCS as independently associated with significantly shorter survival time compared to HGSOC, EnOC, LGSOC and MOC in both the Scottish (multivariable HR vs OCS: HGSOC 0.45, EnOC 0.39, LGSOC 0.26, MOC 0.43) and SEER cohorts (multivariable HR vs OCS: HGSOC 0.59, EnOC 0.34, LGSOC 0.30, MOC 0.81). Within the SEER cohort, OCS also demonstrated shorter survival compared to CCOC (multivariable HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.58-0.68), but this was not replicated within the Scottish cohort (multivariable HR for CCOC: 1.05, 95% CI 0.74-1.51). Within early-stage disease specifically (FIGO I-II or SEER localized stage), OCS was associated with the poorest survival of all histotypes across both cohorts. In the context of late-stage disease (FIGO III-IV or SEER distant stage), OCS, MOC and CCOC represented the histotypes with poorest survival.

Conclusion: OCS is a unique ovarian cancer type that affects older women and is associated with exceptionally poor outcome, even when diagnosed at earlier stage. New therapeutic options are urgently required to improve outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • ovarian cancer
  • Carcinosarcoma
  • malignant mixed mullerian tumour
  • survival
  • ovarian carcinoma


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