BACKGROUND: Ovarian tumors are uncommon but important childhood neoplasms.
PROCEDURE: We reviewed records of 67 pediatric patients presenting to three pediatric referral centers from 1980 to 2003.
RESULTS: Thirty patients had benign tumors. Thirty-seven patients had malignant tumors: 11 immature teratomas, seven malignant mixed germ cell tumors, seven juvenile granulosa cell tumors, five dysgerminomas, two endodermal sinus tumors, two serous papillary cystadenocarcinomas, one small cell carcinoma, one anaplastic sex-cord tumor, and one undifferentiated sarcoma. More than half presented with abdominal pain. Forty-six percent had an abdominal mass at the time of presentation. Other signs and symptoms included poor appetite (15%), urinary symptoms/urinary infection (9%), menstrual changes (9%), and weight loss (6%). Precocious puberty was noted in seven patients. Torsion was seen more often in patients with benign tumors (23 vs. 8%); two patients had both torsion and acute appendicitis. The neoplasm was an incidental finding in 12 patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Fifty-five percent of the 67 ovarian tumors presenting to our centers were malignant. Pain was the most common symptom, although presence of an abdominal mass was frequent, and other symptoms non-specific. Almost all neoplasms presented as unilateral masses and rarely were metastatic at diagnosis. Ovarian tumors must be considered in the differential diagnosis of young girls with abdominal pain, mass, or other non-specific symptoms.
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