Early Detection Of Ovarian Cancer Is Possible


The early detection of ovarian cancer is still possible when the treatment can still be provided for the disease, indicate the preliminary results from a large, continuing trial study . Currently only about one fourth of invasive ovarian cancer is found early.

The study results come from United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) is a randomized controlled trial designed to assess the effect of screening on mortality. Their initial results were published online yesterday March 11, 2009 in The Lancet Oncology. More than 200,000 postmenopausal women in the U.K. are participating in the study, which will end in 2014.

Between 2001 and 2005, these women who are aged 50-74 years were randomly assigned to different groups. The control group (101,359 women) had no early screening. One group (50,640) had annual CA125 with transvaginal ultrasound scanning as a second line or multimodal screening (MMS). One group (50,639) had annual screening with transvaginal ultrasound only.

All women provided a blood sample for CA125 measurement at recruitment. Women with abnormal screens had repeat tests. Women with persistent abnormality on repeat screens underwent clinical evaluation and, where appropriate, surgery.


The study reported 58 invasive cancers were detected at first screening, and 28 of them ( 48%), were in the early stages. No significant difference was found between the two screening methods. There was a higher rate of unnecessary surgery among the women screened by ultrasound alone.

There remains no evidence that screening reduces the death rate from ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is usually asymptomatic in its early stages. It strikes 21,650 women annually in the United States, killing 15,520 a year. When detected early, ovarian cancer is highly treatable with a survival rate of 92% at five years after diagnose. More than two out of three patients are diagnosed with advanced-stage disease, when the five-year survival rate is only 20% to 30%.


Sensitivity and specificity of multimodal and ultrasound screening for ovarian cancer, and stage distribution of detected cancers: results of the prevalence screen of the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS); The Lancet Oncology, Early Online Publication, 11 March 2009; Dr Usha Menon MD, Aleksandra Gentry-Maharaj PhD, Rachel Hallett PhD, Andy Ryan PhD, Matthew Burnell PhD, Aarti Sharma MRCOG, et al

National Cancer Institute