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Ovarian Cancer Grading

The grade of a cancer means how the cells look under the microscope. The appearance of the cells gives doctors an idea of how quickly or slowly the cancer is likely to grow.


There are 3 grades of ovarian cancer:

  • Grade 1 or well differentiated

  • Grade 2 or moderately differentiated

  • Grade 3 or poorly differentiated (or undifferentiated).


As a normal cell grows and matures, it becomes specialized for its role and place in the body. This is called differentiation. Cancer cells can look very like normal cells and are described as well differentiated or low grade. These cancers are more likely to grow slowly.


If the cancer cells look underdeveloped and nothing like a normal cell, they are known as undifferentiated or high grade. These cancers tend to grow and spread more quickly than low grade cancers.

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