Salpingitis, Salpingoliths, and Serous Tumors of the Ovaries: Is There a Connection?

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We have observed luminal and mucosal calcifications frequently surrounded by a mantle of bland epithelium in the fallopian tubes (“salpingoliths”) of women with serous tumors of the ovaries. These lesions resemble noninvasive peritoneal “implants” in women with advanced stage atypical proliferative serous tumors (APSTs) and micropapillary serous carcinomas (MPSCs). The presence of salpingitis and salpingoliths was prospectively evaluated in 358 women with a variety of nonneoplastic and neoplastic ovarian conditions and compared with 87 previously reported women with APSTs/MPSCs in an effort to determine whether these lesions were specifically associated with serous tumors. The frequency of chronic salpingitis among women without ovarian pathology was 27%, and the frequency of salpingoliths was 4%. Serous epithelial tumors (cystadenomas, APST/MPSC, and carcinomas) were significantly more often associated with chronic salpingitis (53%) and salpingoliths (32%) than all other cases with or without ovarian neoplasms (p<0.01). APSTs/MPSCs were associated with salpingoliths significantly more frequently than all other groups (p<0.001). For patients with APSTs/MPSCs, salpingoliths were found significantly more often in advanced stage (FIGO II and III) patients (51%) than stage I patients (24%) (p<0.01), but salpingitis, present in 60% of these patients, was not stage-dependent (p>0.05). Chronic salpingitis was identified in 66% of women with endometriosis, which was significantly more frequent than those with normal ovaries (27%) (p<0.001). In conclusion, fallopian tube abnormalities may be related to both the high frequency of infertility and the noninvasive peritoneal implants in women with APSTs/MPSCs. Whether the fallopian tubes with salpingoliths are the source of the peritoneal “implants,” the recipient of implants, or are independent is unknown. In addition, the high frequency of salpingitis in women with endometriosis may be related to the mechanism of endometriosis-associated infertility.

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