A multicenter prospective external validation of the diagnostic performance of IOTA simple descriptors and rules to characterize ovarian masses

Gynecol Oncol. 2013 Jul;130(1):140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2013.04.003. Epub 2013 Apr 8.


Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of the IOTA (International Ovarian Tumor Analysis group) (clinically oriented three-step strategy for preoperative characterization of ovarian masses when ultrasonography is performed by examiners with different background training and experience.

Methods: A 27-month prospective multicenter cross-sectional study was performed. 36 level II ultrasound examiners contributed in three UK hospitals. Transvaginal ultrasonography was performed using a standardized approach. Step one uses simple descriptors (SD), step two ultrasound simple rules (SR) and step three subjective assessment of ultrasound images (SA) by examiners. The final outcome was findings at surgery and the histological diagnosis of surgically removed masses.

Results: 1165 women with adnexal masses underwent transvaginal ultrasonography, 301 had surgery. Prevalence of malignancy was 31% (n=92). SD were able to classify 46% of the masses into benign or malignant (step one), with a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 97%. Applying SD followed by SR to residual unclassified masses by SD enabled 89% of all masses (n=268) to be classified with a sensitivity 95% of and specificity of 95%. SA was then used to evaluate the rest of the masses. Compared to the risk of malignancy index (RMI), the sensitivity and specificity for the three-step (SD+SR+SA) strategy were 93% (95% CI: 86-97%) and 92% (95% CI: 87-95%) vs. 72% (95% CI: 62-80%) and 95% (95% CI: 91-97%) for RMI, respectively.

Conclusion: The IOTA three-step strategy shows good test performance on external validation in the hands of ultrasonography examiners with different background training and experience. This performance is considerably better than the RMI.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography / standards*