Ovarian cancer screening in asymptomatic postmenopausal women

P D DePriest, J R van Nagell, H H Gallion, D Shenson, J E Hunter, S J Andrews, D E Powell, E J Pavlik
Gynecologic Oncology 1993, 51 (2): 205-9
From 1987 to 1992, 3220 asymptomatic postmenopausal women underwent screening with transvaginal sonography (TVS) as part of the University of Kentucky Ovarian Cancer Screening Project. Ovarian volume was calculated using the prolate ellipsoid formula (length x height x width x 0.523). An abnormal sonogram was defined by (1) an ovarian volume > 10cm3 or (2) a papillary projection into a cystic ovarian tumor. All women with an abnormal TVS had a repeat sonogram in 4-6 weeks. If the repeat sonogram was abnormal, a morphology index score was assigned to each tumor, and a serum CA-125 was obtained. The patient then had a pelvic examination and an exploratory laparotomy. Forty-four patients (1.4%) with a persisting abnormality on TVS underwent exploratory laparotomy. Twenty-one patients had serous cystadenomas and 3 had primary ovarian cancers. Two patients with primary ovarian cancer had Stage IA disease and one had Stage IIIB disease. All patients with ovarian cancer had normal pelvic examinations and normal serum CA-125 levels, and are presently alive and well 32, 31, and 8 months after conventional therapy. Over 5000 screening years have been accumulated at this institution, and there have been no ovarian cancer deaths in the screened population. TVS screening has produced a decrease in stage at detection and case-specific mortality from ovarian cancer. A multi-institutional trial to test the efficacy of TVS as a screening method for ovarian cancer is indicated.

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