Ovarian cancer screening--current status, future directions

Gynecol Oncol. 2014 Feb;132(2):490-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2013.11.030. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


Evidence of a mortality benefit continues to elude ovarian cancer (OC) screening. Data from the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial which used a screening strategy incorporating CA125 cut-off and transvaginal ultrasound has not shown mortality benefit. The United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) is using the Risk of Ovarian Cancer (ROC) time series algorithm to interpret CA125, which has shown an encouraging sensitivity and specificity however the mortality data will only be available in 2015. The article explores the impact of growing insights into disease aetiology and evolution and biomarker discovery on future screening strategies. A better understanding of the target lesion, improved design of biomarker discovery studies, a focus on detecting low volume disease using cancer specific markers, novel biospecimens such as cervical cytology and targeted imaging and use of time series algorithms for interpreting markers profile suggests that a new era in screening is underway.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Imaging; Ovarian cancer; Screening; UKCTOCS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control*