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New algorithm is feasible for detecting early-stage disease in average-risk postmenopausal women

-- Rick Ansorge

Friday, May 21, 2010 (Last Updated: 05/25/2010)

FRIDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- A new ovarian cancer screening strategy is feasible for postmenopausal women at average risk, according to a study released May 20 in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 46th Annual Meeting, to be held June 4-8 in Chicago.

Karen Lu, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues used the "Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm" (ROCA) to evaluate 3,238 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 74 with no significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer. ROCA is based on patient age and trends in CA-125 blood test results, followed if necessary by transvaginal ultrasound and referral to a gynecologic oncologist.

After a follow-up of up to eight years, the researchers found that fewer than 1 percent of the subjects required transvaginal ultrasound each year. Based on ROCA results, eight women underwent surgery, including three who had invasive but early-stage ovarian cancers, two who had borderline ovarian tumors, and three who had benign ovarian tumors. The researchers also found that the specificity of ROCA followed by transvaginal ultrasound for referral to surgery was 99.7 percent.

"More than 70 percent of ovarian cancers are diagnosed when they have already grown to an advanced stage, so identifying a reliable screening test for early-stage disease would be like finding the Holy Grail," Lu said in a statement. "This study is one step forward in that direction. If confirmed in larger studies, this approach could be a useful and relatively inexpensive tool for detecting ovarian cancer in its early, more curable stages, including the types of ovarian cancer that biologically are the most aggressive."

Relationships with Fujiresio Diagnostics Inc. and Roche Diagnostics were disclosed.

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Specialties Cardiology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice
Critical Care

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