Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine


Research Article

The heterogeneity of epithelial ovarian cancers: reconciling old and new paradigms

Honami Naoraa1

a1 University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Molecular Therapeutics, Unit 950, 7435 Fannin Street, South Campus Research Building II, Room 3.2028, Houston, TX 77054, USA. Tel: +1 713 563 4222; Fax: +1 713 563 4235; E-mail:


Epithelial ovarian cancer comprises several subtypes of tumours that exhibit diverse histopathological features. The intriguing assumption by many epithelial ovarian cancers of specialised features of nonovarian tissue lineages has promoted considerable debate as to whether these tumours arise from the deceptively simple surface epithelium of the ovary. This review focuses on recent molecular and pathological studies of epithelial ovarian cancers that support and challenge their surface-epithelial derivation, and discusses the findings in the context of current views of the ‘cell-of-origin’ of solid tumours.