Mucinous Cystadenoma: Definition, Histology, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

They are tumors that can appear in parts of the body such as: the larynx, the pancreas, the liver or the ovaries.

Mucinous ovarian cystadenoma is a benign tumor that arises from the superficial epithelium of the ovary. It is a multilocular cyst with smooth exterior and interior surfaces. It tends to be huge in size. Of all ovarian tumors, mucinous tumors comprise 15%.

About 80% of mucinous tumors are benign, 10% are borderline, and 10% are malignant. Although benign ovarian mucinous tumors are rare in the extremities of age, before puberty and after menopause, they are common between the third and fifth decades.

Mucinous tumors of the ovary represent a spectrum of neoplastic disorders, including benign mucinous cystadenoma, peritoneal pseudomyxoma, low malignant potential (borderline) mucinous tumors, and invasive mucinous ovarian carcinoma.

These tumors are closely related to each other and are clinically, histologically, and molecularly distinct from other histologic subtypes of epithelial neoplasms of the ovary.

The most frequent complications of benign ovarian cysts, in general, are:

  • Torsion.
  • Hemorrhage.
  • Breaking off.

As it contains mucinous fluid, its rupture leads to mucinous deposits in the peritoneum (peritoneal pseudo-myxoma).

Giant ovarian tumors have become rare in current medical practice, as most cases are discovered early during routine check-ups.

The detection of ovarian cysts causes considerable concern for women due to fear of malignancy, but fortunately most ovarian cysts are benign. Mucinous cystadenoma is a benign ovarian tumor.

It is reported to occur in middle-aged women. It is rare among adolescents or in association with pregnancy. In gross appearance, mucinous tumors are characterized by cysts of varying sizes without invasion of the surface.

Only 10% of primary mucinous cystadenoma is bilateral. In our case, the tumor was unilateral and affected the left ovary. The cyst was filled with sticky gelatinous fluid rich in glycoprotein. In a previous case, the weight of the tumor was 6 kg. In our case, the tumor weighed 7,250 kg.


Histologically, mucinous cystadenoma is lined by tall columnar, non-ciliated epithelial cells with apical mucin and basal nuclei. They are classified according to mucin-producing epithelial cells into three types.

The first two, which are always indistinguishable, include endocervical and intestinal epithelia. The third type is Müllerian, which is generally associated with endometriotic cysts. Our case has intestinal-type epithelium, since many goblet cells were noted.

Mucinous cystadenoma symptoms

Ovarian cystadenomas cause vague symptoms, such as:


Although mucinous cystadenomas are benign, they can progress to cystadenocarcinomas; they can also contain pockets of malignancy that can be easily overlooked. Smoking is a known risk factor for mucinous ovarian cancer.

Diagnosis of mucinous cystadenoma

Because the clinical picture of benign and malignant mucinous tumors is very similar, biopsy is the preferred diagnostic method.

Laparoscopy is required with characteristic ultrasound findings at a minimum; however, open laparotomy may be necessary for staging and treatment.

Measurement of CA-125 is often not helpful for diagnosis, because an elevated level is an inconsistent finding in ovarian neoplasms.

Diagnosis is often delayed because women often fail to report symptoms or attribute them to other causes (eg, menopause).

The tests to detect a mucinous cystadenoma are: computed tomography, laparoscopy, and biopsy.

Mucinous cystadenoma treatment

The management of ovarian cysts depends on the age of the patient, the size of the cyst, and its histopathological nature. Conservative surgery such as ovarian cystectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy is suitable for benign lesions.

After surgery, the patient must be followed carefully as some tumors recur. You must be assigned medical check-up appointments every 3 months for a year.

This article has the purpose of informing and in no case replaces the information of the health specialist. If changes occur in your body or health, do not hesitate to go to a medical center.