Krukenberg Tumor

A Krukenberg tumor occurs when a stomach cancer spreads to the ovaries.

They account for approximately 2% of cancers in the ovary and are signet ring adenocarcinomas.

Other malignancies can be associated including bowel, breast and pancreas although gastric carcinomas are the most common cause (over 40%).

What Symptoms Might I Have?

If you have this form of cancer, there may initially be no symptoms at all or very mild and non-specific. As they grow larger, they can cause symptoms including:

  • A Lump In Your Abdomen – you may be able to feel a lump in the lower part of your abdomen.
  • Bloating
  • Lower Abdominal Pain – They may cause pain or discomfort in the lower part of your belly.
  • Period Irregularities
  • Non-Specific Tiredness
  • Change in bowel habit, particularly Constipation

How Are These Tumors Diagnosed?

They are often picked up as an incidental finding on your CT staging scan when you have already been diagnosed with stomach cancer and are a sign of late or stage 4 disease usually. They are usually unilateral, affecting one ovary only, although they can rarely be found in both ovaries. 

The CA125 tumor marker blood test may be elevated in this condition, although it is not specific to this form of ovarian tumor.

However, they might be diagnosed having been investigated for some of the other conditions already outlined.

A biopsy or tissue sample may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

If you are found to have one of these malignancies, without any history of prior stomach or other cancer, you may need other investigations to exclude other associated tumors such as mammography to check your breasts and colonoscopy to check your bowel.

How Is A Krukenberg Tumor Treated?

Because these are metastatic cancers, the most common treatment is chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

As most people present at stage 4 with this, the aim of treatment is normally palliative therapy to prolong life and reduce symptoms. 

Surgery is sometimes undertaken to remove the mass, particularly when no other malignancies are found.

What Is The Prognosis For This Cancer?

Surgery with metastasectomy (removing the metastasis or secondary tumor) can prolong life from 9 months to 17 months (1)

Krukenberg References

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