Diagnostic Performance of Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm Against CA125 and HE4 in Connection With Ovarian Cancer: A Meta-analysis

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2016 Nov;26(9):1586-1593. doi: 10.1097/IGC.0000000000000804.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine whether the Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA) is more accurate than the human epididymis 4 (HE4) or carbohydrate antigen 125 (CA125) biomarkers with respect to the differential diagnosis of women with a pelvic mass. The secondary objective is to assess the performance of ROMA in early-stage ovarian cancer (OC) and late-stage OC, as well as premenopausal and postmenopausal patient populations.

Methods/materials: The PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched for relevant clinical studies. Eligibility criteria included comparison of ROMA with both HE4 and CA125 levels in OC (unspecified, epithelial, and borderline ovarian tumors), use of only validated ROMA assays, presentation of area under the curve and sensitivity/specificity data, and results from early-stage OC, late-stage OC and premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity/specificity, and the diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) results were summarized.

Results: Five studies were selected comprising 1975 patients (premenopausal, n = 1033; postmenopausal, n = 925; benign, n = 1387; early stage, n = 192; and late stage, n = 313). On the basis of the AUC (95% confidence interval) data for all patients, ROMA (0.921 [0.855-0.960]) had a numerically greater diagnostic performance than CA125 (0.883 [0.771-0.950]) and HE4 (0.899 [0.835-0.943]). This was also observed in each of the subgroup populations, in particular, the postmenopausal patients and patients with early OC. The sensitivity and specificity (95% confidence interval) results showed ROMA (sensitivity, 0.873 [0.752-0.940]; specificity, 0.855 [0.719-0.932]) to be numerically superior to CA125 (sensitivity, 0.796 [0.663-0.885]; specificity, 0.825 [0.662-0.919]) and HE4 (sensitivity, 0.817 [0.683-0.902]; specificity, 0.851 [0.716-0.928]) in all patients and for the early- and late-stage OC subgroups. Finally, the ROMA log DOR results were better than HE4 and CA125 log DOR results especially for the early-stage patient group.

Conclusions: The results presented support the use of ROMA to improve clinical decision making, most notably in patients with early OC.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • CA-125 Antigen / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / blood*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Risk Assessment
  • WAP Four-Disulfide Core Domain Protein 2


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-125 Antigen
  • MUC16 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proteins
  • WAP Four-Disulfide Core Domain Protein 2
  • WFDC2 protein, human