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Serous tumours are part of the surface epithelial-stromal tumour group of ovarian carcinomas. They are common neoplasms with a strong tendency to bilaterality, and they account for 30% of all ovarian tumours. Sixty percent are benign, 10% are borderline and 30% are malignant.
Benign serous tumours are unilocular, contain clear fluid and have a smooth lining composed of columnar epithelial cells with cilia. In borderline lesions, the cyst or surface is lined by papillary structures, which are often very complex. Microscopically, stromal papillae are covered by atypical epithelial cells, but stromal invasion is absent. Malignant serous tumours are solid, may be cystic and often show hemorrhage and necrosis. Serous carcinomas often have bulky peritoneal and omental metastases, and spread to lymph nodes is frequent.
As can be expected, 5-year survival decreases as the stage increases. At stage III of a serous carcinoma, there is a 25% survival rate.