The histology of ovarian cancer: worldwide distribution and implications for international survival comparisons (CONCORD-2)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Objective Ovarian cancers comprise several histologically distinct tumour groups with widely different prognosis. We aimed to describe the worldwide distribution of ovarian cancer histology and to understand what role this may play in international variation in survival. Methods The CONCORD programme is the largest population-based study of global trends in cancer survival. Data on 681,759 women diagnosed during 1995–2009 with cancer of the ovary, fallopian tube, peritoneum and retroperitonum in 51 countries were included. We categorised ovarian tumours into six histological groups, and explored the worldwide distribution of histology. Results During 2005–2009, type II epithelial tumours were the most common. The proportion was much higher in Oceania (73.1%), North America (73.0%) and Europe (72.6%) than in Central and South America (65.7%) and Asia (56.1%). By contrast, type I epithelial tumours were more common in Asia (32.5%), compared with only 19.4% in North America. From 1995 to 2009, the proportion of type II epithelial tumours increased from 68.6% to 71.1%, while the proportion of type I epithelial tumours fell from 23.8% to 21.2%. The proportions of germ cell tumours, sex cord-stromal tumours, other specific non-epithelial tumours and tumours of non-specific morphology all remained stable over time. Conclusions The distribution of ovarian cancer histology varies widely worldwide. Type I epithelial, germ cell and sex cord-stromal tumours are generally associated with higher survival than type II tumours, so the proportion of these tumours may influence survival estimates for all ovarian cancers combined. The distribution of histological groups should be considered when comparing survival between countries and regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Mr. John Butler for proposing the idea for the manuscript. This work was funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer , Cancer Focus Northern Ireland , Cancer Institute New South Wales , Cancer Research UK ( C1336 / A16148 ), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 12FED03123 , ACO12036 ), Swiss Re , Swiss Cancer Research Foundation , Swiss Cancer League , and the University of Kentucky ( 3049024672-12-568 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


  • Epidemiology
  • Histology
  • Morphology
  • Ovarain cancer
  • Worldwide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'The histology of ovarian cancer: worldwide distribution and implications for international survival comparisons (CONCORD-2)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this