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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2003 August;55(4):297-314

language: English

The ovarian surface epithelium: simple source of a complex disease

Choi K. C., Auersperg N.


The ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) is thought to be the origin of most ovarian cancers in humans. OSE is a single cell layer of squamous or cuboidal cells on the surface of ovaries. In contrast to its relatively simple structure, it gives rise to a highly complex group of neoplasms, the epithelial ovarian carcinomas. Thus, in this review, we summarize the development and the main characteristics of normal adult OSE with emphasis on those properties that might contribute to its propensity to undergo neoplastic progression. Secondly, a brief comparison of the biology and endocrinology of normal and neoplastic OSE is being described to understand the mechanisms in the transformation of normal OSE to its neoplastic counterparts. Lastly, recent advances in experimental approaches including in vitro and in vivo models that have contributed to our understanding of the nature of epithelial ovarian cancers are being briefly explored.

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