Importance: With approximately 14 000 deaths per year, ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death among US women and the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer. More than 95% of ovarian cancer deaths occur among women 45 years and older.
Objective: To update the 2012 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on screening for ovarian cancer.
Evidence review: The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on the benefits and harms of screening for ovarian cancer in asymptomatic women not known to be at high risk for ovarian cancer (ie, high risk includes women with certain hereditary cancer syndromes that increase their risk for ovarian cancer). Outcomes of interest included ovarian cancer mortality, quality of life, false-positive rate, surgery and surgical complication rates, and psychological effects of screening.
Findings: The USPSTF found adequate evidence that screening for ovarian cancer does not reduce ovarian cancer mortality. The USPSTF found adequate evidence that the harms from screening for ovarian cancer are at least moderate and may be substantial in some cases, and include unnecessary surgery for women who do not have cancer. Given the lack of mortality benefit of screening, and the moderate to substantial harms that could result from false-positive screening test results and subsequent surgery, the USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that the harms of screening for ovarian cancer outweigh the benefit, and the net balance of the benefit and harms of screening is negative.
Conclusions and recommendation: The USPSTF recommends against screening for ovarian cancer in asymptomatic women. (D recommendation) This recommendation applies to asymptomatic women who are not known to have a high-risk hereditary cancer syndrome.