Primary peritoneal cancer

Stephen C. Rubin, MD
Last Modified: June 9, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
My mom just had a hysterectomy and we were told her diagnosis of Peritoneal Cancer mimics Ovarian Cancer. This is very rare; do you have any information about this disease?


Stephen C. Rubin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Primary peritoneal cancer is a malignant tumor arising from the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity. It tends to behave in a fashion very similar to cancer of the ovary, and can look identical under the microscope. The standard treatment is the same as for ovarian cancer. Typically, surgery is performed to remove as much of the tumor as possible, and then chemotherapy is administered. The chemotherapy drugs used are commonly carboplatin and paclitaxel, as are used for ovarian cancer, although other agents may be employed as well.