Ovarian masses: can benign and malignant lesions be differentiated with color and pulsed Doppler US?

Radiology. 1994 Feb;190(2):333-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.190.2.8284377.


Purpose: To determine whether color and pulsed Doppler ultrasound (US) can be used to differentiate benign from malignant ovarian masses.

Materials and methods: Forty-four ovarian masses identified with sonography in 40 patients were confirmed at surgery (n = 35) or followed up to resolution with US (n = 9). Color and pulsed Doppler US were used to calculate the lowest pulsatility index (PI) and resistance index (RI) for each mass.

Results: Color Doppler US enabled detection of arterial flow in 24 of 36 benign masses and six of eight malignant masses. PI was lower in malignant masses than in benign masses (P = .002), as was RI (P = .001). Both indexes demonstrated overlap between benign and malignant masses; therefore, no cutoff value for either index had both high sensitivity and high specificity for malignancy: For PI cutoff of 1.0, sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 46%, respectively; for RI cutoff of 0.4, 50% and 96%.

Conclusions: While PI and RI tend to be lower in malignant ovarian masses, neither index can be used reliably to differentiate benign from malignant lesions. In addition, lack of detectable flow by means of color Doppler US does not exclude ovarian malignancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Ovary / blood supply
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography