Long-term survival of women with epithelial ovarian cancer detected by ultrasonographic screening

Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Dec;118(6):1212-1221. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318238d030.


Objective: To estimate the effect of ultrasonographic screening on stage at detection and long-term disease-specific survival of women with epithelial ovarian cancer.

Methods: Eligibility included all asymptomatic women aged 50 years and older and women aged 25 years and older with a documented family history of ovarian cancer. From 1987 to 2011, 37,293 women received annual ultrasonographic screening. Women with abnormal screens underwent tumor morphology indexing, serum biomarker analysis, and surgery.

Results: Forty-seven invasive epithelial ovarian cancers and 15 epithelial ovarian tumors of low malignant potential were detected. No women with low malignant potential tumors experienced recurrent disease. Stage distribution for invasive epithelial cancers was: stage I, 22 (47%); stage II, 11 (23%); stage III, 14 (30%), and stage IV, 0 (0%). Follow-up varied from 2 months to 20.1 years (mean, 5.8 years). The 5-year survival rate for invasive epithelial ovarian cancers detected by screening was: stage I, 95%±4.8%; stage II, 77.1%±14.5%; and stage III, 76.2%±12.1%. The 5-year survival rate for all women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer detected by screening as well as interval cancers was 74.8%±6.6% compared with 53.7%±2.3% for unscreened women with ovarian cancer from the same institution treated by the same surgical and chemotherapeutic protocols (P<.001).

Conclusion: Annual ultrasonographic screening of asymptomatic women achieved increased detection of early-stage ovarian cancer cases and an increase in 5-year disease-specific survival rate for women with ovarian cancer.

Level of evidence: II.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kentucky / epidemiology
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovary / pathology
  • Survival Rate
  • Ultrasonography