London, Jan 19; Researchers have improved an ultrasound test to predict the risk of ovarian tumours with great precision.
Ovarian tumours are classified as benign or malignant on ultrasound, by means of the popular "Simple Rules" test.
"Until recently, this test was inconclusive for 20-25 percent of the patients," said lead study author Dirk Timmerman from University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium.
"Our team was able to fine-tune this test. From now on, every patient can get an accurate diagnosis. The new test even provides the exact risk of the tumour being benign or malignant," Timmerman noted.
While ovarian cancer is a common and potentially lethal disease, early detection and treatment improve survival.
This study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology represents the culmination of multiple consecutive multicenter studies involving 22 centers in 10 countries over 13 years (1999 to 2012) and approximately 5,000 patients.
Ovarian tumours or cysts have either benign or malignant characteristics. Many women with a benign ovarian tumour only need minimally invasive surgery or even no surgery at all.
Patients with a malignant tumour, by contrast, have to undergo more radical surgery to remove the tumour. This type of surgery takes much longer and comes with a greater risk of complications.
To increase patients' chances of survival, women with a malignant tumour should be treated by a gynaecological oncologist as soon as possible. Therefore, ahead of the surgical intervention, a quick and correct classification of the tumour is very important, the researchers explained.