Screening for ovarian cancer by transvaginal ultrasound and serum CA125 measurement in women with a familial predisposition: a prospective cohort study

Gynecol Oncol. 2006 Dec;103(3):1077-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2006.06.032. Epub 2006 Aug 9.


Objective: This study evaluates the accuracy of transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) in combination with CA125 to detect ovarian cancer in women at hereditary risk for ovarian cancer.

Methods: A semi-annual surveillance protocol comprising CA125 measurement and TVUS was offered to 676 women including 85 BRCA mutation carriers. Surgical intervention was performed if TVUS revealed a suspicious cyst or if elevated CA125 levels or cystic lesions persisted in two consecutive examinations.

Results: Ten women underwent histological verification that revealed one serous cystadenocarcinoma stage Ic. No interval ovarian cancer occurred. The specificity of surgical intervention reached 98.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 97.5% to 99.3%) and a positive predictive value (PPV) of 10% (95% CI: 1.8% to 40.4%).

Conclusion: The low PPV is due to the unexpectedly low incidence of ovarian cancer. Large scale investigations including details on potential confounders and modifiers are needed to further evaluate accuracy and effectiveness of ovarian cancer screening for women at high risk.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CA-125 Antigen / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / blood
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / diagnostic imaging
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / genetics
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / pathology
  • Decision Trees
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography / methods
  • Vagina


  • CA-125 Antigen